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Where does Lewis rank in history?


Where does Lewis rank in history?

It's only a matter of time before Ray Lewis walks onto the stage at Canton, Ohio, for his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It is certain to come in his first year of eligibility, which will be five years after he has retired.

But where exactly does Lewis rank among the Hall of Famers? There's no easy way to compare Lewis with players of a bygone era such as Dick Butkus or Ray Nitschke, but there's no doubt that Lewis is right at the top of the list of the greatest linebackers of all time.

In NFL Network's recent look at the top 100 players of all time, Lewis checked in at No. 18. Only one linebacker ranked higher: Butkus at No. 10. And ESPN's Any-Era team, created to speculate on which current NFL players would do well in the old-school, smash-mouth, mud-caked NFL, named Lewis No. 1 on its list.

Here is how Lewis compares with some of those who he will one day join in Canton:

Dick Butkus (No. 10 on NFL Network's top 100 list): It's hard to visualize old-school Bears football without Butkus ranging side to side and absolutely crunching someone.  There might have never been a harder hitter in the NFL. Butkus went to eight straight Pro Bowls, but in terms of longevity, Lewis beats him badly;  Butkus' career was cut short by a knee injury, and he played 119 games over nine seasons from 1965-73. Lewis has nearly doubled those totals, with 227 games over 17 seasons.

Jack Lambert (No. 29): Like Lewis, Lambert anchored a team known for its defense, and no teams in the 1970s wanted to mess with the Lambert in the teeth of the Steel Curtain. Lambert played in nine straight Pro Bowls and in 146 regular-season games over his 11-year career. Also like Lewis, Lambert could drop back in coverage; he finished with 28 career interceptions, three shy of Lewis' current total, and his season-best of six (twice) equals Lewis'. Lambert, though, has the thing that Lewis says he wants most: Super Bowl rings. Lambert earned four of them.  

Chuck Bednarik (No. 35): It's pretty much impossible to compare Lewis with Bednarik, who was one of the last phenomenal two-way players in the NFL. You want old school? Bednarik, who played center on offense and was a punishing linebacker on defense, played 58 minutes of the NFL title game in 1960, and made a game-saving tackle on Jim Taylor that gave the Eagles that title.  

Ray Nitschke (No. 47): Nitschke, like Lewis, was still a mauler well into his mid-30s, playing until he was 36 years old. Nitschke anchored a defense that won the first two Super Bowls, and he was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1962 NFL Championship Game, which preceded the Super Bowl. Nitschke played 190 games over his career, which though approaching Lewis' total, still falls basically two full seasons short.

Willie Lanier (No. 53): The pride of Morgan State, Lanier was another old-school hitter who Lewis would have fit right in with. Lanier anchored a Chiefs defense that held Minnesota to seven points in the Chiefs' 23-7 win in Super Bowl IV, and during a career from 1967-77 he went to the Pro Bowl eight times.

Mike Singletary (No. 58): Singletary was the heart and soul of Buddy Ryan's 46 defense in Chicago, which is often mentioned with the 2000 Ravens as one of the greatest ever. Singletary went to 10 straight Pro Bowls with the Bears and was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year (1985, 1988). He later worked with Lewis as the Ravens inside linebackers coach from 2003-04.

Junior Seau:  Seau isn't enshrined in Canton yet, but only because he isn't eligible yet. Seau is one of the very few linebackers whose longevity -- at least as of now -- surpasses Lewis. Seau played 20 seasons from 1990-2009, with 12 trips to the Pro Bowl. He reached the Super Bowl twice, but will be among the best modern players to never win one.

Patrick Willis:  No, he doesn't belong in Canton yet, or in the same breath as Lewis, but perhaps as much as anyone he represents the next generation of bruising inside backers. Willis has been in the league only since 2007, but has been named to the Pro Bowl every year. Lewis told ESPN in 2011 that Willis "reminds me of myself -- a lot."

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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Fellow dance student of Ravens' Alex Collins fatally shot in Florida school shooting

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.


“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.”

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Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

USA Today Sports

Baltimore Ravens to take on Chicago Bears in Hall of Fame game

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.