Jan/06/14 08:21 AM Filed in: Ray Lewis | Ed Reed
Just last week, Head Coach John Harbaugh saw cornerback Chykie Brown listening to a Ray Lewis speech on his iPhone.
“I’m just trying to get fired up, coach,” Brown said.
A lot of the chatter before the season was about how the Ravens were moving on from two organizational institutions and locker room leaders, Lewis and Ed Reed.
After the season ended, Harbaugh was asked whether it really was an issue not having their leadership.
“I missed them, personally, and I think our guys missed them,” Harbaugh said, before citing the Brown anecdote. "So, Ray Lewis lives.
“You’re always going to miss guys. I think those guys are doing their thing now and doing real well at it, and they’re always a part of us going forward. They’re good friends; we miss them.”
Reed played for the Houston Texans, where he struggled on the field and clashed with coaching staff, and then the New York Jets, where he played well with three interceptions in six games.
Lewis became an analyst on Monday Night Football and other ESPN programming.
The Ravens, meanwhile, found other sources of leadership – both old and new.
Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata became a stronger voice and leader by example. Fullback Vonta Leach was relied on for leadership on offense, as well as guard Marshal Yanda, wide receiver Torrey Smith and quarterback Joe Flacco.
Safety James Ihedigbo stepped up in the secondary, and defensive end Chris Canty and linebacker Daryl Smith both became highly-respected veterans amongst their teammates.
The Ravens had leadership. They just didn’t wear No. 52 and No. 20.
But Lewis and Reed were still missed around Baltimore.