Full name: Ray Anthony Lewis Jr.
Originally: Ray Jenkins
Date of birth: 15 May 1975
Place of birth: Bartow, Florida
Position: Middle linebacker
Height: 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight: 240 lb (109 kg)
High school: Lakeland (FL) Kathleen
College: Miami (FL)
NFL draft: 1996 / Round: 1 / Pick: 26
Ray Lewis was born in Bartow, Florida, on May 15, 1975. He is considered one of the best linebackers in the history of football.
Lewis' early childhood years weren't always stable. His mother was just 16 at the time of his birth and his father, Elbert Ray Jackson, was largely absent during his son's childhood. He was the oldest of five children so he quickly became the man of the house taking care of his family.
Disgusted with his father's lack of contact, Lewis abandoned the name Ray Jenkins and took the name of her mother's boyfriend, Ray Lewis, when he entered Kathleen High School.
In 1992, Lewis, armed with a full scholarship, enrolled at the University of Miami, at the time home to one of the country's best football programs. He quickly became a vital piece in a vaunted Hurricanes' defense. Overall, he ranks fifth all time in school history in tackles, and at the end of his junior year was runner-up for the Butkus Award as the nation's best linebacker. Following the 1995 season, Lewis declared for the draft. In the spring of 1996, the Baltimore Ravens made him a first round pick.
Outspoken and ferocious, Lewis spent his entire 17-year career with the Ravens. Out of the gate, he was a force and led the club in tackles his rookie season. In 2000 and 2003 the league named Lewis its Defensive Player of the Year—just the sixth player in history to win the award multiple times.
Lewis's best year arguably came in 2000, when he led the Ravens to a Super Bowl title, and took home the game's MVP honors in the win.
The spiritual leader of the team, Lewis continued to play at high level well into his 30s. But by the 2012 season, his game had started to slow. Shelved for part of the year with triceps injury, and unable to dominate the field like he once had, Lewis announced that he would retire at the end of the season. He played his final football game on February 3, 2013, in New Orleans, Louisiana; in Super Bowl XLVII, the Ravens went head to head against the San Francisco 49ers, and won, 34 to 31. At age 37, Lewis had finalized his career with a second Super Bowl victory. "How could it end any other way than that?" he said to interviewers after the game, adding, "And now I get to ride into the sunset with my second ring ... Baltimore! Baltimore!
2x Super Bowl: Baltimore Ravens (Super Bowl XXXV, Super Bowl XLVII)
2x American Football Conference Championship: Baltimore Ravens (2000, 2012
1x MVP Super Bowl (2000)
2x NFL Defensive player of year (2000, 2003)
13x Pro Bowl (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)
7x First-Team All-Pro (1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2008, 2009)
3x Second-Team All-Pro (1997, 1998, 2010)
2x Linebacker of year (1999, 2003)