While a lot of running backs try to avoid contact, Jamal Lewis sought it out.
Now, the Ravens have sought out Lewis, their all-time leading rusher who retired after the 2009 season, to place him in the Ring of Honor at M&T Bank Stadium on Sept. 27.
The Ravens play the Cleveland Browns, where Lewis spent the final three seasons of his career, on NFL Network.
"The reason why we were able to win the Super Bowl in 2000 was because of Jamal Lewis," Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said of the then-rookie who had 1,364 yards rushing that championship season before a major knee injury ruined their chances to repeat. "The reason we didn't win it in 2001 was because Jamal got hurt and we weren't able to replace him."
Lewis had the mentality of a head-hunter. That's why he hung out with defensive stalwarts such as linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Rod Woodson even though he was a running back.
"My dad always told me, 'Be the hitter.' That's what I always instilled in my work ethic and how I really ran the ball," Lewis said. "It was an intimidation factor also. I'm not a big talker. I like to lead by example and gain my respect by how I played the game on the field. I think I did that."
Lewis had 7,801 yards in Baltimore and is 21st on the NFL's all-time list with 10,607 total rushing yards. He had his best statistical season in 2003 when he ran for 2,066 yards and 14 touchdowns. That rushing total is second all-time for a single season.
Having to face one of the league's best defense every day in practice helped.
"I like to bring the same kind of passion and same kind of physicality to the field when we were on offense just to gain that respect," Lewis said. "I always felt that I was a defensive player playing on offense. I think that's why I always ended up hanging around linebackers. I wasn't the finesse type of guy."
On Wednesday, February 14, a horrific school shooting claimed the lives of 17 innocent people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.
The tragic event impacted people far and wide, and hit especially close to home for Ravens running back Alex Collins.
The former Arkansas star was born in Plantation, Fla., a suburb of Fort Lauderdale and went to high school just 15 miles south of Douglas High School.
In the offseason, Collins took Irish dancing lessons to improve his footwork, and following the act of terror, the Ravens' tailback learned that one of his dance partners had been killed in the mass shooting.
17-year-old Cara Loughran attended The Drake school of Irish Dance with Collins in addition to two other Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students and was fatally shot by the gunman on Wednesday afternoon.
Collins took to his Twitter account to issue this heartfelt message.
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“The school shooting yesterday hit home,” Collins wrote.
“We received confirmation a few hours ago we lost one of the girls, Cara Loughran. Two other girls saw and experienced unspeakable tragedy. My heart goes out to these girls, all their families and their teacher Chrissy.”
BALTIMORE -- The Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will launch the NFL's 99th season by playing in the annual Hall of Fame game on Aug. 2.
The Ravens' first appearance in the Hall of Fame game, which launches the league's 2018 Enshrinement Week. Former Baltimore linebacker Ray Lewis is among the inductees, along with former Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher.
Lewis, who played 17 seasons with the Ravens, and Urlacher, who played all of his 13 seasons with Chicago, both were elected on the first ballot.
Lewis joins Jonathan Ogden as the only Ravens in the Hall of Fame. Both were selected by Baltimore in the first round of the 1996 draft.
The other members of the Class of 2018 include Bobby Beathard, Robert Brazile, Brian Dawkins, Jerry Kramer, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. All will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 4.
This will be the record-tying fifth time that the Bears will play in the Hall of Fame game. They won the previous four, most recently 27-24 over Miami in 2005.
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