Sep/21/12 09:26 AM Filed in: Ray Lewis
A different side of Ray Lewis was portrayed in the NFL Films documentary, "A Football Life: Ray Lewis" that premiered Wednesday night on the NFL network.
The hour-long presentation featured two relationships he's had off the field that showed a softer side to the linebacker fans have seen on the gridiron for 17 seasons.
Lewis welcomed Sgt. First Class Allen Wiseman for practice after Wiseman contacted the Ravens about his story in Afghanistan. Normally, Wiseman wore his Ray Lewis jersey underneath his combat gear when he was on a mission, but wasn't able to the day his helicopter was shot down.
He sustained a bullet wound and received a Purple Heart after surviving. As a gift, Wiseman gave his Purple Heart to Lewis as a thank you for what he's done to the Baltimore community and for how he's led the football team.
Another relationship prominently shown was one Lewis had with Dundalk, Md. resident and longtime Ravens fan Bill Warble, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. During the 2011 season, Lewis spent time with Warble's family and invited him out to a practice days before the AFC Championship game in New England.
Lewis introduced former defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, now the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, to Warble, who was sitting in his motorized wheelchair hooked up to an oxygen tank.
“I ain't gonna die until we win the Super Bowl," Warble told Pagano.
The Patriots defeated the Ravens 23-20 that week. Sadly, Warble passed away in 2012.
“Papa Bill changed my perspective about what you complain about, what you don't complain about," Lewis said on the show.
The Ravens lost to the Patriots 23-20 that week.
Lewis was mic'd throughout the 2011 season, even when he was on the football field. When he injured his toe against Seattle, he told Ed Reed he broke it (it was later deemed a turf toe injury). Local media didn't see Lewis at the facility in the following weeks because he was at his south Florida home rehabbing, with the NFL Films camera crew alongside.
Lewis also spent a considerable amount of time with his children, attending his sons football games and working out with his daughter. In one scene, he's playing the board game Monopoly with them, to which his sons deemed him a cheater.
Linebacker Jameel McClain watched the hour-long special Wednesday night and offered one thought about what he saw.
"He wouldn't cheat me in Monopoly," McClain said.