Childhood & Early Life
Ray Anthony Lewis was born Ray Jenkins, on May 15, 1975, in Bartow, Florida. He is the eldest among the five children of his parents. Lewis’ mother, Sunseria, was only sixteen years old at the time of his birth. His father, Elbert Ray Jackson, was not present with the family during his childhood days. Being the eldest, young Lewis had to take care of his younger siblings. Disappointed by his father’s treatment, he abandoned his name, Ray Jenkins, and adopted the name, Ray Lewis. It was the name of his mother’s boyfriend. Lewis’ younger brother, Keon Lattimore, is also a renowned football player.
Lewis attended the ‘Kathleen High School,’ for his early education. He was active in both football, and wrestling, during his school days. In 1992, he joined the ‘University of Miami,’ with a scholarship, and was part of their football team, the ‘Miami Hurricanes.’
As a freshman, Lewis contributed to some major wins achieved by his team. He was selected to the ‘Freshmen All-American Team.’ Lewis displayed excellent performance during his sophomore and junior years too. In his junior year, Lewis was chosen as the runner-up for the ‘Butkus Award,’ as the best linebacker.
Continue Reading Below
In 1995, Ray Lewis surrendered his final year of college eligibility, and declared himself eligible for the ‘NFL Draft.’ He was selected by the ‘Baltimore Ravens,’ as a first round pick. Lewis continued his association with this team till the end of his career.
In 1996, his rookie year, Lewis led his team in tackles, and earned an ‘All-Rookie Team Honor’ from the ‘USA Today.’ In 1997, Lewis scored an ‘NFL- best,’ and career-high, 184 tackles. In the same year, he earned his first entry in the ‘Pro Bowl,’ an all-star game of the ‘NFL.’ He scored four sacks, an interception, a forced fumble, and 11 pass deflections.
In 1998 and 1999 seasons also, Lewis secured entry in the ‘Pro Bowl.’ In 1998, he was selected to the ‘Sporting News All-Pro Team.’ In 1999, Lewis was chosen as the ‘NFL Alumni Linebacker of the Year.’ The title was awarded on the basis of voting by the past players of the ‘NFL.’
In 2000, Ray Lewis led his team to one of its biggest victories. ‘Baltimore Ravens’ set a 16-game single season record for the fewest points, and fewest rushing yards allowed. ‘Ravens’ won the ‘Super Bowl XXV,’ held in 2000. After the win, Lewis was named the ‘Super Bowl MVP,’ and the ‘Defensive Player of the Year.’
In 2002, Lewis suffered a shoulder injury, and was restricted to five games. Despite this, he managed to rank fifth in the team, with 58 tackles. He also earned the title of the ‘AFC Defensive Player of the Week.’ But he was not selected to the ‘Pro Bowl,’ due to his injury. In the 2003 season. Lewis was back in action, giving excellent performance on the field. He was named the ‘AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year.’ He earned the title of ‘NFL Alumni Linebacker of the Year.’
In the 2005 season, Ray Lewis suffered injuries, and was placed on reserve. In 2006, he bounced back, and led his team to an ‘NFL-best’ ranking in 14 major defensive categories. Injuries continued to haunt him in this season too. Though he was selected for the ‘Pro Bowl,’ he had to withdraw due to a hand injury.
In the 2007 season, Lewis was his team’s leading tackler. He scored a total of 120 tackles, two forced fumbles, and two sacks, in the entire season. He earned his ninth entry in the ‘Pro Bowl.’ In 2008, Lewis led his team to the ‘AFC Championship Game,’ with a total of 117 tackles, and three interceptions. He was nominated to the ‘Associated Press first-team All-Pro’ for the sixth time in his career.
Ray Lewis was selected to the ‘Pro Bowl’ in the three consecutive years, 2009, 2010, and 2011. In 2010, he became the second player in the history of ‘NFL,’ to record at least 30 interceptions, and 30 sacks, in his career. In 2011, Lewis became the first player in the history of ‘NFL,’ to record 40 sacks, and 30 interceptions.
In 2102, Lewis suffered a triceps injury. In January, 2013, he announced that he would retire after the ‘2102-2013 NFL playoffs.’ His last game for the ‘NFL’ was the ‘Super Bowl XLVII,’ in which the ‘Ravens’ defeated the ‘San Francisco 49ers.’ Lewis retired from professional football, with a 13-times ‘Pro Bowl’ entry, and several awards and accolades.
Ray Lewis is currently single. He was in a relation with Tatyana McCall, Kimberly Arnold, and Sharnika Kelly. Lewis has six children, from four different women, of which four are boys and two are girls. His son, Ray Lewis III, played football for the ‘University of Miami,’ and the ‘Coastal Carolina.’ His other son, Rayshad Lewis, plays for the ‘University of Maryland.’
In 2000, Ray Lewis and his two companions were charged with a double murder, outside an Atlanta nightclub. A fight took place outside the club, after the ‘Super Bowl’ party, resulting in the stabbing of two men. Murder charges against Lewis were later dismissed, but he was sentenced to a probation for 12 months. The ‘NFL’ imposed a fine of $250,000 on Lewis.
Lewis has been involved in charitable activities, throughout his career. He started the ‘Ray Lewis 52 Foundation,’ for providing economic assistance to the poor sections of the society. Lewis was awarded with the ‘Act of Kindness’ award, for his humanitarian work. In 2015, Lewis published his autobiography, ‘I Feel Like Going On: Life, Game, and Glory.’