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Late For Work 8/15: Michael Phelps Smack Talks Steelers, Gives Ray Lewis Shout-Out In Final Race

Posted Aug 15, 2016

Eric Weddle's cousin wins bronze in weightlifting. Justin Forsett has ... uhm ... Olympic pride, and Steve Smith Sr. makes fun. Congratulations to Tyrod Taylor on new contract.


Michael Phelps Smack Talks Steelers, Gives Ray Lewis Shout-Out In Final Race

As far as Ravens fans are concerned, swimmer Michael Phelps essentially hit a three-run homer on the last day of his Olympic career.

First, he brought home another gold medal, his 23rd, in what he insists was his final competitive race. Second, he gave Ravens future Hall of Fame linebacker and Baltimore icon, Ray Lewis, a major shout-out just after winning the gold (we’ll get to that in a second). And, finally, the greatest Olympian of all-time made sure the entire world knows he loathes the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Think I’m exaggerating the “loathes” part? Watch the video below. Phelps’ shoulders literally shuddered when he saw a reporter wearing Steelers gear at a press conference in Rio.

"Is that a Steelers ... ? Aww, man. Gah-lee. Ugh," he says.

You just made every Ravens fan’s day, Michael. Thank you.

As if the gold-medal walkoff and Steelers jab wasn’t enough, Phelps also used his pool-side interview to give Lewis credit for helping him enjoy the last chapter of his Olympic journey.

During Phelps’ last 50 meters of the 4x100 medley relay, his teammates were shouting, “Four more years!” With so many people in his ear about another comeback, NBC’s Michele Tafoya asked how Phelps can know for certain that he won’t be on the springboard in Tokyo in 2020.

"I was talking to Ray Lewis earlier today. I know he's watching. And we just had a great talk," a teary-eyed Phelps said. "It's not the end of a career, it's the beginning of a new journey. And I'm just looking forward to that."

What exactly did Lewis tell Phelps in that phone call?

TheMMQB.com’s Peter King got ahold of Lewis while he was shopping in Alabama, where he was dropping off his daughter, Diaymon, at college. They were buying items for her dorm room. 

“When you get ready to retire, everybody says, ‘Are you gonna miss it?’” Lewis said, per King. “So I’ve talked to Michael about that a lot. Told him, ‘Enjoy this frickin’ ride! IT’S NOT SAD! IT’S THE MOST WONDERFUL THING EVER!’

“I’ve told Michael, ‘This is the beginning of a great life. You’ve got a BABY BOY! Watch him walk. Take him to first grade. You know how great first grade is going to be? And you’ll be there for him, with him! You got a son, YOU BRAND HIM!’”

Lewis and Phelps struck up a friendship after the 2004 Athens games because, in part, Lewis understood the pressure that comes with being the best in the world at his craft; the pressure that comes with trying to stay on top and the accompanying fame.

Phelps said on Facebook Live, before the race, that he read two books this year—“The Purpose-Driven Life,” and “The Power of Your Subconscious Mind.”

“One person gave me both those books: Ray Lewis,” Phelps said. “He … told me to read those books and they have changed my life, that's for sure. … Ray is a brother to me.”

So he called his brother just before his final race.

“Keep going! Finish it!” Lewis told Phelps, invoking the “Lion Order” they had talked about for years.

The Lion Order is a culture Lewis said he established with former University of Miami teammate Rohan Marley, son of Bob Marley. They liken a pride of lions to being by each other’s side and pushing each other to the limit.  

“‘Lion order! Lion order!’ In those last 50 meters, that was all that was going through my mind,” Phelps told his friend and mentor.

Eric Weddle’s Cousin Wins Bronze In Weightlifting

Let’s keep this Olympic-themed “Late for Work” rolling (who knew there would be so many Ravens connections?).

Check out the cousin of Ravens safety Eric Weddle, Sarah Robles, go nuts after she lifted 160 kilograms (that’s 352 pounds, folks) above her head.

Robles lifted 286 kgs total (630 pounds), with 126 in the snatch and 160 in the clean and jerk. That was good for the bronze medal in the women’s over-75-kilgram category. Robles’ bronze was the United States' first weightlifting medal in 16 years.

Needless to say, Weddle was beyond proud of his cousin.

Justin Forsett Has … Uhm … Olympic Pride, And Steve Smith Sr. Makes Fun

Well, Justin Forsett was trying to show his Olympic pride Saturday before Phelps’ final race. Forsett had no shame in dressing up in full swimming garb, complete with the cap and goggles.

I love it when people don’t take themselves too seriously.

But it did leave the door open for some playful ribbing from teammate Steve Smith Sr.

Congratulations To Tyrod Taylor On New Contract

This day was a long time coming for former Ravens quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

After being selected in the sixth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, Taylor was the backup for Joe Flacco for four years. He rarely saw any action during that time as Flacco didn’t miss a single start, but Taylor worked on his craft wherever he could in practice and the preseason.

When his rookie contract expired, Taylor signed with the Buffalo Bills in 2015, won the starting job and had a breakout year. He was finally rewarded Friday with a six-year deal worth $90 million, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Well-deserved, Tyrod!

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