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Johnny Unitas Statue Moving Over For Ray Lewis

As of early Wednesday morning, Johnny Unitas was on the move.

His statue, located in front of the north entrance to M&T Bank Stadium, moved a few feet to the left to make room for another Baltimore legend – Ray Lewis.

Both will greet fans as they enter the stadium through the main gate at the end of Ravens Walk.

There have been fenced off areas signifying the move for more than a month, but ground was broken early this morning.

Lewis' statue, which will be unveiled before the start of the 2014 season at a yet to be announced time, will be located just to the right of Unitas.

And according to Unitas' son, Chad Unitas, Johnny U would have been just fine sharing the space with the future Hall of Fame linebacker.

"He'd embrace it, absolutely," said Chad Unitas, who is a Ravens client services associate.

"Whenever people think of the Baltimore Ravens, they think of Ray Lewis. Whenever people think of the Baltimore Colts, they happen to think of my dad. It's a great honor on both sides. It's two people that this city really looks up to."

The elder Unitas, who passed away on Sept. 11, 2002, watched and admired Lewis during the linebacker's first six seasons in the NFL.

Unitas would frequent Ravens practices and chat with Lewis afterwards. Lewis would sometimes shake Unitas' hand after games. Lewis has an autographed ball from Unitas in his house.

"Dad always said Ray Lewis was a player that could have played back in the day when he played," Chad Unitas said.

Now the two will be somewhat united. The Ravens organization did not consider putting Lewis elsewhere or moving Unitas or Lewis to another area entirely.

"Keeping them centralized, while separated, we think is important," said Ravens Senior Vice President of Public & Community Relations Kevin Byrne.

It will be the first time that Unitas' statue will be moved since it was dedicated on Oct. 20, 2002. The tribute was held during halftime of a Ravens game in which the organization also put eight Hall of Fame Colts in the team's Ring of Honor.

Byrne said the Ravens decided to move Unitas over to help with traffic flow into the stadium.

"To have the two right next to each other in the middle, we think it would cause a bottleneck," Byrne said. "We wanted to split them so people could walk around each of the statues.

"We assume there's going to be something similar to what fans do with Johnny's statue, which is touching his shoe on the way in for good luck. We think they'll do something with Ray's."

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