Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was known for his fiery demeanor when it came to football.
Lewis loved to energize his teammates by encouraging/bombarding them nonstop throughout every game. He talked trash to nearly every opposing offensive player. Lewis’ vocalizations were often a blend of Southern Baptist preacher meets motivational speaker Tony Robbins.
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And Lewis was often the guy assigned to address his teammates the night before a game to fire up the troops.
According to the upcoming issue of ESPN The Magazine, Baltimore’s Joe Flacco was approached by former offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who wanted his quarterback to take Lewis’ motivational mantle prior to a game. However, Flacco did not want any part of Lewis’ tradition.
Here is why:
"That's not me," Flacco says. "I love Ray, and I love how he always spoke from the heart, but if you listened to those speeches, a lot of them didn't even make sense. He meant everything he was saying, but I didn't know what he was talking about 90 percent of the time."
Well, Flacco, that makes most of us.
It is safe to assume Flacco probably wanted to ask Lewis a question about one of his confusing analogies, but that probably is a tough conversation to have with somebody whose face will look like Braveheart on game days. What can you really say to a person who gets a team motivated by barking like dogs before kickoff? When you view somebody like your babbling uncle after his third drink, it is easier to nod and move on than engage in a mystifying conversation.
Nobody is questioning Lewis’ playmaking ability. Lewis recently retired after a career that is definitely Hall of Fame worthy. He is one of the greatest linebackers in NFL history, and that cannot be denied.
Yet, we now know that even though Lewis’ dance before home games may have fired up Ravens fans, his speeches to teammates confused some of them.