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Inside Answers: Ray Lewis


*For the latest edition of Inside Answers, we've taken questions from fans and brought them to a top performer in the Ravens' most-recent game. *

Here's linebacker Ray Lewis with his answers to your questions.

[Ed. note: Questions may have been edited for clarity.

Chris Washington, Dayton, Ohio: Congrats on beating the Bears! I know going into this next couple weeks is going to be tough. But as one of the leaders on defense how do you help keep some of the guys in the secondary heads up after they make a mistake? I know this something a leader needs to know how to handle. What do you define as or what characteristics make a leader?

Lewis:"I think I've always been a leader since I was a child. Leadership is the greatest form of servanthood. To be a leader, you have to get people to abide by what you're saying. Maybe it has nothing to do with you. It's all about them. By being a leader, you have to lead to convince others to follow you. I believe leaders can come in so many forms. Some can be made, but I think in this league, leaders are born."

Andrew Hoster, Salisbury: Ray- How does it feel to be the heart and soul of the Ravens team? And, is Ray Rice the guy you're going to pass the torch to? Never retire Baltimore football will never be same without you.

Lewis:"Ray Rice has that quality. I've decided that he's one of the ones that you realize 10 years down the road, people will be saying the same things you hear about the great leaders. It's passing it down and not holding anything for yourself. It's the strongest commitment to serving others. Once you get that concept, you can realize that it's nothing about you.

"Whether it's wins or losses, it's much more important for you tell somebody else how to deal with how you won or lost. Once you figure out how to get away from self, you think about, 'Wow, this is how to lead. I can't be selfish.' That's why I've been training the police officers. I want to do it for them."

Amir Devine, Linden, NJ: How did you come about to working with the Baltimore Police and some of the homeless people in the community? You're my favorite player and most importantly one of my favorite people.

Lewis:"I talked with the Commissioner [Bealefeld] about how to make this city better, and I told him, 'You guys should come out to my camp. I'll do a private one for you. If you're the ones protecting us, then why not relieve some stress and create a bond with fellowship?' It's about the mind, body and spirit. We're all lifting each other up and getting stronger.

"I don't do it to get them to keep up with me. I do it to help them. It's one of the greatest blessings ever because of the lives we're affecting. It's just like the armed forces. We can't thank them enough for what they do, so if we can do something small for the people that are serving our city, why not do it? I have to give to that cause."

Starr Walter, Salisbury, Md.: What can we do to keep from letting Hines Ward and Pittsburg's antagonism from getting under our skin and causing us to react in anger and frustration and costly penalties? Can we let them take the penalties (they had 10 in their last game) as we keep our cool and play a clean game....not taking their bait?

Lewis:"I really think all you can do is just keep playing. You know, you can't get caught up into altering your game because of it or changing something. I think some of them can be corrected; whether it's a holding, whether it's the pass interference, you can play the technique a little better. But if it's just from pure aggressiveness, you just need to keep playing football. That's just what it is, because once you get into the, 'The refs throwing this and that,' that's too much, that's too much, man. The game is going to take care of itself."

Tim Lintmann, Dover, Del.:Ray, how do you feel about putting two games together where you played so well on all sides of the ball? Go Ravens!!

Lewis:"I just think, bottom line is as a team we are putting together a lot of great things. Offensively we are playing great football. Defensively we are playing great football. Once you get in December and you are in position to make the playoffs it doesn't matter who you have won or lost to. It's a journey, a marathon and if we as a team understand that we will be ok. Everything we went thru early, the ups and the downs, is going to help us now. I just like our attitude. The way we practice. The way we practice the games become easier because we trust each other so much".

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