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Ray Lewis claims crime declined in Baltimore when he played

Ray Lewis

FILE - In this Nov. 7, 2010, file photo, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis celebrates during the closing minutes of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins, in Baltimore. A 13-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Lewis helped make the Ravens far better than respectable while establishing himself as one of the best linebackers ever to play the game. (AP Photo/Rob Carr, File)


Ray Lewis was known for the occasional self-aggrandizing statement during his playing career, but he may have topped them all with a claim he made on the eve of his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction.

Lewis said that he was such a force for good that his presence on the football field with the Ravens actually resulted in a reduction in crime in Baltimore.

“When I played, crime went lower in Baltimore,” Lewis said, via Jamison Hensley of ESPN. “It’s like, nobody needs to be mad now. It’s like everybody wants to be happy and celebrate.”

This isn’t the first time Lewis has claimed a correlation between crime and football: In 2011, when the NFL owners locked out the players, Lewis said that he foresaw an increase in crime if that lockout lasted into the regular season.

“Do this research if we don’t have a season — watch how much evil, which we call crime, watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game,” Lewis said in 2011. “There’s too many people that live through us, people live through us. Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I’m not talking about the people you see all the time.”

Lewis was a great player, maybe the greatest middle linebacker ever. But no one ever accused him of being a Hall of Fame criminologist.