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Where does Lewis rank in history?

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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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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Free agent Gerald McCoy to visit Baltimore

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Free agent Gerald McCoy to visit Baltimore

Kick off your holiday weekend with the latest Baltimore Ravens news.

1. One of the most obvious needs for the Ravens is help rushing the passer, and they're hoping to find some of that help on the interior in the form of free agent Gerald McCoy. The longtime Buccaneer DL visited Cleveland last week, but left town without agreeing to a contract.

Reportedly interested in playing for a contender, the former top-five pick is scheduled to visit the Ravens on Tuesday.

2. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is still struggling to throw the ball, as he noted things aren't right yet when it comes to accuracy. Media members noticed the ball wobbling through the air on many throws, and Jackson told them he thinks his hand is too high on the ball. If he's going to successfully run Greg Roman's new offensive scheme, Jackson will eventually need to be able to hit his receivers in stride with greater regularity.

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.

MORE RAVENS NEWS

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson is his own biggest critic

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Baltimore Ravens Roundup: Lamar Jackson is his own biggest critic

Kick off your Friday with the latest Baltimore Ravens news including how quarterback Lamar Jackson has fared during OTAs.

Player/Team Notes: 

1. Following a January surgery on his left ankle, safety Tony Jefferson remains sidelined after the first week of OTAs. Originally, Jefferson was expected to return 4-6 weeks after surgery. However, now that it's 5 months later, his return timetable is becoming more and more concerning. 

2. Quarterback Lamar Jackson spoke with Ravens media Thursday about his progress not only learning the new offense implemented by Offensive Coordinator, Greg Roman, but learning the names of his new teammates as well. After another day of OTAs, Jackson was his biggest critic despite a solid day of running plays namely passing drills. “I’d say my first day, I sucked,” Jackson said to Ravens media. “Second day, I did better. Today was alright, but it could have been better. I always try to be perfect in practice. It was alright for the first week.”

Looking Ahead:

July 15: 4 p.m. deadline to get a long-term deal done with designated franchise tag players.

The 2019 NFL schedule is set! See the Baltimore Ravens defend the AFC North at M&T Bank Stadium this season. Get your tickets now at www.BaltimoreRavens.com/tickets.

Credit: Rotoworld and Baltimore Ravens for news points.

MORE RAVENS NEWS