“We get one opportunity in life, one chance at life to do whatever you’re going to do, and lay your foundation and make whatever mark you’re going to make. Whatever legacy you’re going to leave; leave your legacy!” –Ray Lewis
A legacy he has certainly left. There are so many things that Ray Lewis will be remembered for: his emotion on the field, his inspiration for teammates and fans, his thirteen Pro Bowls, his two Super Bowl wins, his feat as the only player to record 40+ sacks and 30+ interceptions, and many more things. This past Sunday Ray Lewis led the Ravens to his and the franchise’s second Super Bowl victory. His early retirement announcement seemed to be just the push the Ravens needed, but hopefully he hasn’t set a precedent for other athletes with this early announcement. That’s the last thing sports need is a half dozen guys each year announcing it being their last season in hopes of firing their team up for a playoff push. If that’s the case, I suggest Jamaal Charles announce his retirement from the Chiefs tomorrow, but that’s beside the point. Ray Lewis will always be remembered in the NFL, but more specifically in the Baltimore Ravens franchise. He was drafted in their first ever draft and has brought the Ravens to two Super Bowl victories, while making them a defense to be feared every single year. But there’s one thing that many people will not remember or may not even know about Ray Lewis.
In 2000, the night of the Rams Super Bowl win over the Titans, Ray Lewis was in the wrong place at the wrong time. After partying at a club in Atlanta for the night, fights broke out that left two young men dead. Ray Lewis and two of his acquaintances were arrested and charged with the murders. Lewis’ murder charge was then dropped as he was cut a deal to testify against the other two acquaintances. Although Ray was never convicted of murder, he was involved in a situation that left two young men dead and Ray very well could have been responsible.
These two young men, Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker, were in Atlanta looking for a new start. In life, lots of people get second chances. These two young men were looking for a second chance. A chance to make their legacy. They never got that chance, and Ray Lewis is one of the men responsible for that. This certainly doesn’t tarnish Ray Lewis’ legacy as an outstanding NFL player and possibly the greatest middle linebacker to ever play the game. And, it has been said that Ray has changed significantly since this incident. He has never been in the news again for something negative, only for positive things. However, many people may not know about Ray’s involvement in the murder of those two young men or they may simply purposely forget it. I wish it never happened because it is now something I will always remember when I think of Ray Lewis. Sure, I’ll remember all his accolades, his pregame dance, and all his motivational speaking. But, I’ll also remember the families of those two young men. So, as you all “mourn” the retirement of Ray Lewis and remember his legacy, also keep in mind the families of those two young men and the legacies they were never able to create.
Thanks for reading and tune in next week, when I’ll give my prediction for the future of Tom Brady and the Patriots, something New England fans need to hear.
This article was written by Kenny Decker. You can follow him on Twitter @Inside__Sports.