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Byrne Identity: Ray Lewis Talks About Pain And Coming Back


Ray Lewis Talks About Pain And Coming Back

The device sends electronic stimulation to the injured area. Depending on the voltage, the feeling ranges from unusual to painful. Add lifting some weights with the same arm while the electricity is being sent to the injured area. That really hurts.

That is not for the faint of heart. It makes you cringe to watch.

Beads of sweat formed on Ray Lewis'  face as he regularly did exactly that exercise, pushing himself to a return to the field for the Ravens. "Pain exists, and I'm impatient. If pain is the thing, I'm committed to coming back. Don't tell me to stop because of pain. I'll be smart if you tell me I can be reinjured. I'll fight pain. I'll go beyond the norm."

He did, and he continues to do this.

When Ray was injured against the Cowboys on Oct. 14, doctors said it was season-ending. "The docs told me it would be four months, at best, before I could use my arm to play football again.

"I wasn't having that," Lewis told me yesterday morning.

"I called Ozzie (Newsome), and I told him that I could come back and help the team this season. I asked him not to put me on injured reserve. I told the same thing to 'Harbs.' I asked them to believe me. I knew I could do it. I know my body better than anyone."

After some discussions with our doctors and trainers, Oz decided to place Ray on injured reserve, but on a new list that allows a player to return to the roster, rather than be out for the season. Each team is allowed to use this designation once per season.

"Did I believe Ray could come back? Well, it is Ray, and if any player could do it, it would be him. I believed him. We trusted him," Newsome explained.

Will Ray Be Back This Season?

"Oh yeah, I wanted to play last Sunday against Denver (first game Ray was allowed to come off the reserve list). But, the docs said, 'No.' As soon as they open the door, I'm walking through it," Ray said.

How excited would he be to come out of the tunnel to be introduced to the M&T Bank Stadium crowd?

"I might pass out. My heart would be racing. Maybe some of the fans would pass out too," Lewis said chuckling.

(I told Ray we are introducing the defense this Sunday. "You know I'm trying to prove to them that I can go," he said.)

Don't Watch Ravens With Ray

"When I was first injured and had surgery, the docs and trainers wanted me to rest. I went to my home in Florida. I had to watch some of our games on TV," Lewis said.

How was that?

"Terrible. The first one I watched was the Houston game. I was yelling at everyone. I had to go to a room and watch by myself. I was the fan no one wanted to sit around. I was yelling at position groups, individuals. I was furious. When the game got out of hand, I was like, 'Just man up. Hit someone in the mouth. Let them know you're not giving up and that there will be a next time.'"

Any Good Part Of Being Sidelined?

"The best part was spending more time with my children. I got a taste of what's it going to be like when I stop playing in the NFL. It's special."

For example?

"Two of my sons play on the same high school team. My oldest – he's going to the 'U' – was having to deal with injuries too. They made the playoffs and made it to the last round, but, in the end, they had too many players hurt. Ray Jr. had messed up his wrist and was dealing with a groin injury. I had to talk to him and tell him that, 'Sometimes it's OK to sit out. They (injuries) happen for a reason, Junior.' He cried. I told him, 'This doesn't mean life is over.' So, I had to practice what I preached. He was dealing with it, and Junior helped me deal with my injury.'"

Ray Believes

"We need some momentum right now," Lewis said when talking about a Ravens' run to the Super Bowl. "Momentum is real in life and in football. Good things lead to good things. Bad can lead to more bad. We're giving effort, but it hasn't been rewarded over the last three games. Look what those young lions did on defense in the first half against Denver. Three-and-outs against Peyton Manning! That was real.

"But, you can't make mistakes. We can't give up big plays, and we can't give the other team the ball. We have young talent. We don't have maturity. Sometimes we play checkers when we should be playing chess. Like Coach (Harbaugh) says, 'More games are lost than won.' In checkers, you want to take a quick jump. In chess, there's more strategy.  Sometimes the quick jump is not what you need. Sometimes you need to play chess: 'If they do this, we do that. If they do this, what does it mean for the next series?' We can swing this momentum.

"We just need to win this next game and start a run. I believe we can do this," Lewis concluded.

Are We Seeing The Final Games Of Ray Lewis?

I'm not sure. I believe Ray has made up his mind, and he'll share that when he believes it is appropriate. In the meantime, I know this. He's coming back this season. Whether it's this Sunday against the Giants or next week in Cincinnati, or in the playoffs, No. 52 is going to help this Ravens team complete the 2012 journey.

How cool would it be for him to run out of our home tunnel at least one more time? "At linebacker, No. 52, 13-time Pro Bowler and two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, Ray Lewis."My heart will pound. So will his. So will the hearts of many Ravens fans. Maybe it will happen this Sunday. I hope so.

Let's beat the Giants and win the AFC North. That will give us a home playoff game. We would all love that. Talk with you next week.


P.S. Someone sent this to me. It was on Deadspin. Another example of "any given Sunday" in the NFL.

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