September 7, 2015

Highlighted Year: Ray Lewis, 2001

Linebacker, Baltimore Ravens

Age: 26
6th season in pro football & with Ravens
College: Miami (FL)
Height: 6’1”   Weight: 245

Lewis was chosen by the Ravens in the first round of the 1996 NFL draft and inserted into the starting lineup at middle linebacker as a rookie, and had an immediate impact. He was chosen to the Pro Bowl for the first time in ’97 and was a consensus first-team All-NFL selection in 1999. With outstanding instincts, intensity, and speed that allowed him to cover a large area and make plays, Lewis was well-established as one of the premier linebackers in the NFL. The only concerns about him following the ’99 season pertained to off-field issues surrounding an altercation outside an Atlanta nightclub that ended in two stabbing deaths, but following a plea bargain that included his testimony against two associates, he was back in action in 2000 (and was also heavily fined by the NFL) and received NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors from the Associated Press as the Ravens went all the way to a Super Bowl victory.

2001 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Sacks – 3.5
Most sacks, game – 1 at Denver 9/30, vs. Indianapolis 12/2, vs. Pittsburgh 12/16
Interceptions – 3
Most interceptions, game – 2 vs. Cincinnati 12/23
Int. yards – 115 [10, tied with Deltha O’Neal]
Most int. return yards, game – 94 (on 2 int.) vs. Cincinnati 12/23
Int. TDs – 0
Fumble recoveries – 1
Fumble recovery TDs – 0
Forced fumbles – 1
Tackles – 112
Assists – 49

Postseason: 2 G
Sacks – 0
Interceptions – 0
TD – 0

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-NFL: AP, Sporting News
1st team All-AFC: Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Ravens went 10-6 to finish second in the AFC Central and qualify for the postseason as a Wild Card entry. Won AFC Wild Card playoff over Miami Dolphins (20-3). Lost AFC Divisional playoff to Pittsburgh Steelers (27-10).

Lewis adjusted well to a shift to inside linebacker as the Ravens switched to a 3-4 defense in 2002 but he was limited to five games due to a shoulder injury. He bounced back to again be named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2003 and, other than a hamstring injury that cost him time in ’05, remained a regular Pro Bowl choice through 2011, his next-to-last season at age 36. Overall, Lewis played for 17 years, all with Baltimore, and recorded 41.5 sacks, intercepted 31 passes, and was credited with over 1500 tackles. He was a consensus first-team All-NFL selection seven times, received at least some second-team recognition after four other seasons, and was chosen to the Pro Bowl on 13 occasions. Lewis capped his career in 2012 by playing in another Super Bowl, also won by the Ravens.


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970