Myles Jack Doesn't Like Comparisons To Ray Lewis
UCLA linebacker Myles Jack grew up watching and idolizing Ray Lewis, but that doesn't mean he wants to be compared to the best of all-time … especially before he's played a single NFL snap.* *
When you're a middle linebacker, it's the supreme compliment to be compared to the future Hall of Famer. While the comparison is an honor, it can also create debilitating pressure and unfair expectations.
CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco asked an NFL General Manager if Jack compared favorably to the great Lewis.
"Yes, but Jack is faster," the GM said.
Jack is trying to slow down that train before it gains too much steam.
"When I hear I am compared to him, I am kind of like, 'slow down, put on the brakes,''' Jack told Prisco. "I have to earn that. I have to climb the ladder before I can be mentioned with him, my name and his name in the same breath. He'll be remembered for generations. Everybody knows Ray Lewis. You can't compare yourself to idols. You want to model your game after it, but comparing me to him is too fast. I want to get there, but slow down."
Jack is dead on. He honors Lewis as one of the greatest and understands you can't compare potential to a 17-year career of dominance.
That said, it is part of NFL scouting process to liken prospects' body types and playing styles. That's where it needs to end, however.
While Jack (6-foot-1, 243 pounds) and Lewis (6-1, 245 pounds) have similar body types, Prisco noted that some say comparing Jack and Lewis is "off base."
"They will say he's not big enough to play in the middle," wrote Prisco.
Sorry, but analysts said the exact same thing about Lewis. He used that as motivation and talked about it even toward the end of his prolific career. Jack is trying to shake a similar perception among critics.
Because Jack has played slot corner and safety in college, some evaluators will say he is a "finesse" inside linebacker. That's not exactly what Lewis is known for. He was an intimidating figure who wanted receivers and running backs to regret coming across the middle.
When you have the speed and ability to run down rushers and receivers, it's hard to shake the perception of a finesse linebacker. But all you have to do is turn on the tape, says Prisco.
"The tapes of him playing at UCLA show he's a versatile player who can run, hit, chase, cover and, oh, yeah, hit some more," wrote Prisco.
He also argued that today's game requires more speed at linebacker because of the proliferation of spread offenses. To stay on the field for all three downs these days, you have to cover and deliver punishing hits. Jack can do both, making him the "perfect" NFL linebacker, says Prisco.
And if you're looking for that nasty edge that Lewis brought to the game, here ya go:
"Once I put the helmet on, I change," Jack said. "Football is a dangerous sport. People are out there trying to get you. My mentality is either him or me. And it's not going to be me that's going to get got. I always try to be aggressive and be the dominant person in every situation. I am a boring person off the field. I sit at home and play video games when I am not in here working out. But on the field, you have to rev yourself up, bring on that demon inside of you, not like a demon, but an alter ego. Once you put on the helmet, you're a warrior. Off the field, I am a cool person, but on the field you can assault people and not get in trouble for it."
Benjamin Watson 'Angry' After Former Saints Linebacker Killed In Road Rage Incident
The NFL is enduring another episode of tragic news after former Saints defensive end Will Smith was shot to death and his wife was also shot in a road rage incident following a minor car crash.
Smith, 34, was shot after exchanging words with the driver of a Hummer H2 that rear-ended his Mercedes G63 SUV. Smith was shot multiple times and his wife, Racquel, 33, suffered a non-life-threating shot in the leg. The couple has three children.
The news comes just weeks after the Ravens lost cornerback Tray Walker to a motorcycle accident.
Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson, who played with the New Orleans Saints for three years (starting the year after Smith retired), took to social media to share his thoughts on the incident. Watson has developed a reputation for writing powerful and thought-provoking posts after tragic events, including the Baltimore riots.
Several other Ravens players also sent their condolences.
Trent Richardson Says He'll Sign By April 18
We've been hearing about the Ravens' plans to sign former first-round running back Trent Richardson to their roster, but it has yet to happen. So when will he actually become a Raven?
According to Richardson, early next week. He told The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec that he will be signed on April 18, just in time him to join the team for the start of their offseason workout program.
The two sides have had a verbal agreement for about a month, and it appears the Ravens first want to monitor his training before formally committing.
Richardson is ready for a new opportunity after he admits he's made missteps in the NFL and had poor work ethic. He can prove that he's turned things around as he enters a tough competition with Justin Forsett, Buck Allen, Lorenzo Taliaferro, Terrance West, and Terrence Magee.
"I'm in a position to earn a spot on the team, a chance to actually be that guy," Richardson said. "I know there's going to be a lot of competition. I know there's going to be a lot of fighting among ourselves, but we're all out there for the same thing. We all want to try and get better, we all want to be that guy. But at the same time, I'm coming in and I'm ready to work."
Is Starter Opposite Jimmy Smith Already On Roster?
The Ravens currently have Jimmy Smith and Shareece Wright, former high school teammates, penciled in as the starting corners this season.
But it remains to be seen if Wright can hold onto that starting job.
"The answer probably won't come until it gets closer to the regular season," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "The expectation is the Ravens will draft a cornerback in the first three rounds. Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta already said starter-quality cornerbacks are gone by the middle of the third round.
"Among the possibilities are Houston's William Jackson, Virginia Tech's Kendall Fuller, Miami's Artie Burns and Alabama's Cyrus Jones. All of those cornerbacks would get the opportunity to compete for the starting job against Shareece Wright, who was re-signed just before the start of free agency. So, if the rookie shows quickly that he is ready to play immediately, he'll start opposite Jimmy Smith. If the draft pick needs more time to adjust (like Smith did as a rookie), Wright will keep his starting spot."