•LEWIS ON HIS MOST IMPORTANT LESSON FROM THE NFL
Treat it as a business, and know it better than anybody else does. Don't ever go into anything blind, where you're relying only on your athletic ability. If you understand that, then you will be around for a long time.
It's about people really knowing who I am. We often judge people off one situation, but life is about how you go through something and who you become when you come out of it. Do you curse God, or do you accept your role in it and move on? If you act like a man, then people know your heart. And once they know that, they know you. That's what's happened with everybody who's meeting me now. I get people saying, 'I thought I really knew you.' Well, on the football field I'm one thing. When I'm off it, I'm just me.
•ON THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
My thing is to not get drawn up in politics. I live and pray for truth. It is disappointing to vote and not to get what's right.
•ON HIS GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT
I'm most proud of being my mother's son and a father to my kids. [Lewis has six children.] It's something that nobody will understand--making my mom smile because I'm healthy and not running the streets. I feel the same way about being a father. I grew up without a father, and it's hard. You never know who you are. You just live, and the streets have to teach you. Some people survive that and some don't.
•ON THE HARDEST PART OF BEING RAY LEWIS
People don't want you to have your time. Everybody is always grabbing it away from me.
God has put me in a position to affect lives. I can make a difference, whether people look at me as a great football player or a man who went through trials and tribulations and still came out of that with a smile on my face. --As told to Jeffri Chadiha
LEWIS, 29, IS A TWO-TIME DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR AND, ACCORDING TO HIS PEERS, THE HARDEST HITTER IN FOOTBALL
" ON THE FIELD I'M ONE THING. OFF IT, IT'S JUST ME."
"The first thing I'd like to do is meet Eddie Vedder."
--Rick Mirer, Lions quarterback, page 45
ROBERT SEALE/TSN/ICONSMI (LEWIS)