NEW ORLEANS — Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis met the media for the first of several times this week, and he said his “hunger” to win another Super Bowl is “probably off the charts.”
“I was 25 when I won my first Super Bowl. To be 37 and back here and have a chance to win another one in my last year, there’s no greater hunger that I have,” Lewis said.
“I’m going to give my teammates everything I have and not just on Sunday. Starting today, I’m not going nowhere. I’m sitting in my room, and I’m studying and studying and studying. I owe them something as a leader, and that is to have myself totally prepared.
“My hunger is probably off the charts right now.”
Lewis said that when the Ravens were in the Super Bowl in the 2000 season, he followed veterans like Shannon Sharpe and Rod Woodson. Now, he said teammates are approaching him to ask him questions about how to handle the week.
“All week I’ve heard guys talking like, ‘Man, I can’t believe we’re here. We made it, we made it.’ Today, I think it actually confirmed for a lot of people that it’s really real,” Lewis said.
“Now, you have to really realize that there’s only two teams left. There’s no next week. Whoever wins this game will feel that confetti drop. It’s one of the most ultimate feelings I’ve ever felt in my life, and I would love to really experience that with these guys.”
Lewis spoke of how special it is that all his family members — including his father, with whom he’s had a very complicated relationship in the past — are planning to be in New Orleans this week. Lewis said that the one exception is his grandmother, who he said is not doing well.
“Everything is complete now,” he said. “My entire family will be here actually watching this game, outside my grandmother, who is very ill. Any time you can finish your career with your whole family by your side, I think that’s the way you always should do it.”
Lewis also was asked a couple of questions about his past, including one about his reaction to Facebook comments made by the wife of New England Patriots’ wide receiver Wes Welker following the Ravens 28-13 victory in the AFC championship game.
Anna Burns Welker questioned why Lewis is looked at as a role model.
“I don’t really get into that. Listen, I’ve always been a firm believer of the good book and the good book always confirms, even a fool is counted wise until he opens he or she mouth. Sometimes people just say silly stuff and they say it out of emotion,” he said.
“Sometimes, you need to let the game take care of the game. We lost last year up there and I didn’t hear one teammate say anything about anybody there because we have respect for that team, that they won it fair and square. For her to come out and say what she said, look, I truly forgive her. I don’t have no hard feelings against her at all but I believe that people just make mistakes and say stupid things at times.”
Asked why he feels the public has forgiven him after his legal problems in Atlanta earlier in his career, Lewis said, “Honestly, I don’t know nobody that has ever lived a perfect life. I have saw people that went through things before and realistically, most of the time what happens, when somebody goes through adversity, you really find out what their true character is. I think for me, people really now have taken time to find out who I am. They are really learning what my character is. My character is simply to make this world a better place, to encourage people that no matter what you’re going through, it ain’t really what you’re going through, it’s your mindset when you’re going through it. SO when you see all the support that I’m getting right now, I’m in total awe of the respect that some people have of someone who has been through adversity but found his way out and really just shown what my true character is and who I am as a person.”
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