This is an article from the Oct. 5, 2009 issue
Ray Lewis VERYTOUGH GUY
Thelinebacker—whose undefeated Ravens haven't allowed a back to rush for 100 yardsin their last 38 games—faces the Patriots this Sunday.
Dan Patrick:Several people have said that your game-saving, fourth-down tackle in Week 2 ofthe Chargers' Darren Sproles might have been the best play of your career.
Ray Lewis: Witheverything on the line, I wouldn't argue with that at all.
DP: Was it acalled play, or did you act on your own?
RL: I just actedon my own. It was the base defense. I saw a tip. You sit there and watch filmfor hours and hours and hours, and there's always that one play that you say,"I'm going to do it." And most of the time you never do.
DP: What did yousee in the film?
RL: They ran thesame exact play against Oakland [the week before]. He hit the same hole on ashort-yardage play, and that same formation came up again. So instead of megoing wide and trying to make the play, I just shot the gap.
DP: Give me thetype of running back who gives you the most trouble.
RL: Hmmm. I don'tknow that many running backs who I can say, "He's going to give metrouble." I don't care how fast you are, I don't care how big you'resupposed to be. The bottom line is, there's one football, and if you touch itthat many times, nine times out of 10 I'm going to find [you].
DP: Who's the bestteam in football?
RL: I don't know.I think we're the best team we can be.
DP: Do you reallybelieve you can be an offensive-minded team with a good defense, or are youstill a defensive-minded team with a good offense?
RL: We're still adefensive-minded team with a good offense. We play the same way on offense. Wehave a great, physical line, we have three great running backs. We really makepeople respect our run first to open up our pass.
DP: Bart Scott ofthe Jets was on the show earlier. How surprised are you at how much talking heand [New York coach and former Ravens defensive coordinator] Rex Ryan have beendoing this year?
RL: We were justtalking about that in the locker room. We've been getting that question,"What do you think about Rex?" We don't.
DP: Do you find itentertaining that they weren't afraid to give Tom Brady grief or give BillBelichick grief? Is that something you wouldn't do because you're aveteran?
RL: I wouldn't doit. The game is going to take care of itself. Instead of getting into all thosejawing matches, just go out and strap up your chinstrap and see what comes withit.
DP: Is Miamifootball back? And I'm not talking about the Dolphins.
RL: I like what[Hurricanes coach Randy Shannon] is doing down there. And Jacory Harris—thatyoung quarterback reminds me a lot of Randall Cunningham with his sleek buildand the way he's slinging that ball.
DP: You get moreexcited talking about your old school than you do the Ravens, do you knowthat?
RL: When you talkabout the Ravens, that's straight business. That's what I can control. WithMiami, now I get to sit back and watch everything they're doing.
DP: You're 34. Ifyou win the Super Bowl, would you think about retiring?
RL: I don't know.That's too far away. If I thought about that right now, I'd be cheatingeverything I prepare for.
Los Angelesforward Landon Donovan (above) said what sets teammate David Beckham apart isthe same thing that makes Peyton Manning such a good quarterback: vision andskill. "Peyton sees things that other quarterbacks don't see," Donovansaid. "David does that. And then having the ability to put [the ball] whereyou want to, that's the other half of the equation. To have one of [thosetraits] is pretty good. To have both is what makes David so talented."
First-yearTennessee coach Lane Kiffin told me that his headline-grabbing antics are partof a master plan to take the heat off his young Vols. It worked in hisconference debut at the Swamp in Gainesville, which Florida won 23--13."All of the negative attention was on me," Kiffin said. "The bestpart about it was that you come out of the tunnel for warmups and you've got90,000 people screaming at me. Nobody paid any attention to [theplayers]."
Line of theweek
Jets linebackerBart Scott—who with the Ravens had eight tackles in a playoff drubbing of theDolphins—isn't wowed by Miami's Wildcat offense, which he'll see in Week 5:"I love the Wildcat. I wish they ran it 100 percent of the time. We've gotthe Kryptonite."
Now Hear This
Listen to thepodcasts at danpatrick.com/interviews
1. Reggie Jacksonon how MLB media coverage has changed.
2. Archie Manningdiscusses the importance of coaches.
THE FINE PRINT:Vince McMahon's wife is running for U.S. senator from Connecticut. She threwher hat into the ring ... with a folding chair.