Ray Lewis’ father wasn’t around to see his son play college football or to see him become an NFL star. Now that Ray Lewis is a Hall of Fame inductee, he has told his story in an interview with ESPN: “I thought that I had to be the man of the house because my father wasn’t going to be there,” Lewis said in his first-person essay. “So I had to be on my Ps and Qs. I had to be the man of the house, or I would be punished. It was that way with my mother. It was the same with my brothers.”

For the better part of his 15-year NFL career, Ray Lewis was plagued by one particular question. It came at him time and time again, especially when he was putting up a career year, whether it was in college or a few years into his pro career. The same question, put ever so differently, had been asked of him his entire life: can you be a Hall of Famer without being a Hall of Famer’s son?

When Ray Lewis was two years old his father Leo walked out on his family, leaving them behind in a state of shock. This family tragedy became the driving force behind Lewis’s success as a professional football player. As a powerhouse defensive player on the Baltimore Ravens Lewis is widely known for his ruthless style and powerful tackles.

Ray Lewis’ impassioned words and passionate cries defined him more than any bone-crunching tackle he made at the line of scrimmage for the Baltimore Ravens.

Lewis, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018, was one of the most intense football players in recent memory. Lewis doubts he would have made it to the NFL if it hadn’t been for a sad and turbulent upbringing.

Ray Lewis utilized his adversity as motivation to make it to the NFL.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis in 2011.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis in 2011. Ray Lewis attributed his success to a tough upbringing | Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun/Tribune News Service via Getty Images Ray Lewis attributed his success to a difficult childhood.

Lewis isn’t one to let the past die, especially since so much of it shaped him into the man he is today.

Lewis and Marvin Shanken, the magazine’s publisher, addressed a 2012 lecture the Hall of Fame linebacker gave at Harvard University in a 2016 interview with Cigar Aficionado.

During one of his interactions with the legal students at the institution, Lewis reminisced on his path to the NFL. Elbert Ray Jackson, Lewis’ father, abandoned his mother soon after Lewis was born, according to Lewis’ speech. He said that his mother had been mistreated in many relationships, and that her children were aware of it.

“And a lot of people always look at me and say, ‘Man, how did you get to be such a fantastic football player?’ I wasn’t motivated by football. What motivated me was the need to ensure that a man would never touch my mother again.”

Ray Lewis

Four years later, when he talked with Shanken, he stated he doesn’t look back on his life and wonder what might have been.

Lewis told Shanken, “I tell people all the time that if there was anything to alter, I wouldn’t change anything.” “Because it was that which pushed me. When I look at my kids or athletes, I get a burning sensation in the pit of my stomach.”

Lewis has utilized his adversity to assist those in need.

Lewis has shared his life with the public rather than keeping it bottled up or storing it for a tell-all book.

Lewis told Cigar Aficionado in the same interview that his mother sent him to Florida with $20 in food stamps because he wanted to live there. He was a standout linebacker at Kathleen High School in Lakeland, Florida, and went on to play college football at the University of Miami.

Lewis also recognizes that he and his family are not alone in their struggles. He established the L2 Family Foundation, which assists single parents in taking the first steps toward buying a house. 

Lewis has discussed his mother’s financial difficulties in a number of interviews over the years. The Power52 Foundation works with Baltimore residents to prepare them for employment in the renewable energy industry.

Lewis got the chance to see several of his children play football in the years after he retired from the NFL.

Ray III, his eldest son, played at the University of Miami and Coastal Carolina University for a short time. Rayshad and Rahsaan, two additional sons, played together at Kentucky in 2020.

Rayshad started his career as a freshman receiver at Utah State, where he had 40 receptions for 476 yards and two scores. Later, he moved to Maryland, where he was a receiver and a cornerback.

Rahsaan started his football career at the University of Central Florida as a cornerback. Despite switching to receiver for the 2019 season, he mainly played special teams for an Owls team that won its second Conference USA championship in three seasons.

In 2020, Rahsaan did not see any snaps at Kentucky. Even if he doesn’t make the starting lineup for the Wildcats this season, he can count on his father’s support. Ray Lewis is doing for his family what his own father never did: being present and involved.

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Ray Lewis may have been able to play for Florida State if the Seminoles’ coaching staff hadn’t offended him.

All the way back in 1999, Ray Lewis was a rising young star in the NFL. That year he was selected to the Pro Bowl, and he finished the year with a league-high 10 interceptions. He was so good that he could have been the NFL Defensive Player of the Year, or at least the top defensive player on his own team, the Baltimore Ravens.. Read more about ray lewis wife and let us know what you think.

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