Ray Lewis was viewed as one of the NFL’s most physical players during his run as a Baltimore Ravens linebacker. Not everyone loved Lewis, but he loved the game. And he is worried about it.
Mostly, it seems, he is agitated with how the NFL is officiated. Lewis used the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV to illustrate his point. The Chiefs were flagged eight times, leading Lewis to turn off the television.
“I can’t watch it,” Lewis told Fox News. “I’ve seen this before; I don’t want to watch this.”
Lewis said the NFL is almost a different sport from when joined the Ravens as a rookie in 1996.
“It’s a league that makes it hard to watch from a defensive player. The art of why the game started, you know, tackling, you know, the big hit, the change in the course of a game, changing the way players from the offensive side think about the defensive side when you got to attack Dick Butkus or Mike Singletary,” Lewis told Fox News, before insisting that “the essence of the game is leaving.”
As little as Lewis likes the rules and officiating, he seems to be at least equally as bothered by the lack of overall loyalty.
“When you think about Baltimore when you think about the city, you think about one person. That’s the legacy. I don’t think they [players] even think that far. Sometimes I think they get mad at management, and they get mad at owners and they just want to do it their way. And it’s like, well, I want out and I get it. I get it. And I could have said that you know, we went three, four years, you know, without having a winning season. But, I wouldn’t leave my city because I wanted to walk on the other side of that when the game was over,” Lewis said. “… But, you know, maybe I’m a unicorn, one of the last ones.”