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History of Ray Lewis as a Baltimore Raven

Updated: Thursday, January 3 2013, 03:30 PM EST
From being a first round pick to a Super Bowl Champion, there are many moments which defined Ray Lewis' career.

With the 26th overall pick in the 1996 draft, the brand new Baltimore Ravens selected Linebacker Ray Lewis from Miami. Now, 17 years, 13 Pro Bowl selections and a Super Bowl title later, Lewis is hanging up his cleats after this season.

As the face of a franchise since its inception, Lewis made his impact immediately. In the franchise's first game against the Oakland Raiders in 1996, Lewis' end zone interception preserved a Ravens 19-14 win and the Baltimore Ravens first ever victory.

For the next 17 years, Lewis would change the landscape of defense in the NFL making the Ravens one of the most dominant defensive units year after year. In 2000, he led a Ravens defense which set NFL record lows in total points scored against and rushing yards against. Lewis also helped the team shut out four opponents en route to a Super Bowl victory.

2000 would also be the first time Lewis would win the NFL's defensive player of the year award. In 2003, he would win the award again after setting the franchise record with 226 tackles in the year and leading all NFL linebackers with six interceptions.

In 2006, Lewis would lead the NFL's number one ranked defense with 164 tackles despite missing two games due to injury.

In 2009, Lewis was named to the 2000's all decade team by the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

In 2011, a sack in a game against the Texans made Lewis the first player in NFL history with 40 sacks and 30 interceptions.

But aside from the numerous honors and accolades that Lewis accomplished throughout his career, most will probably remember him best for his uproarious introductions and that signature dance.

Ray Lewis is a player who defined a defense, a team, a city and an era of football.History of Ray Lewis as a Baltimore Raven

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