Ray Lewis Almost Went On WrestleMania
Ray Lewis seems like he was born to be a pro wrestler.
With his huge personality and gameday theatrics, the legendary Ravens linebacker was basically a wrestler in football pads.
And it turns out that he almost did end up in the WWE ring.
During an interview last week with Dan Patrick, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson revealed that Lewis came close to participating in a match during the WWE's marquee event, WrestleMania. The match would have been in the WWE's heyday, when The Rock and "Stone Cold Steve Austin" were household names.
"We'd gotten very close with having a big match, bringing in Ray Lewis," Johnson said, via The Baltimore Sun. "And we were gonna have a big tag-team match with myself, Ray Lewis as tag-team partners against whoever the top heels were at the time."
The idea sounds like a match made in heaven. It's easy to imagine Lewis squirrel-dancing his way into the ring and helping The Rock dole out "The People's Elbow."
"And it was gonna be a big WrestleMania match," Johnson said. "It had nothing to do with the creative, just more so scheduling. But we were very, very excited, so we came very close to that."
Oh, what could have been.
The would-be tag team partners have actually known each other for years, as they played football together at the University of Miami. Johnson said Lewis and Hall of Fame defensive tackle Warren Sapp were the best players he played with on those great Miami teams.
Johnson also tried to recruit Sapp to make a WWE appearance.
"Both those guys would've done great in the ring," Johnson said. "And just really, really exceptional athletes."
Expectations Haven't Slipped A Bit
When the Ravens took the field for last week's minicamp, NFL Media's Albert Breer noticed a much different team than the one he's grown accustomed to watching in Baltimore. Franchise cornerstones are gone, and this offseason ushered in another era of change with the departures of key players like Haloti Ngata and Torrey Smith.
What hasn't changed, however, is the way the Ravens practice under Head Coach John Harbaugh. On a day where a handful of coaches around the NFL cancelled their final minicamp session, Harbaugh's team took full advantage of the practice time.
"John Harbaugh scheduled a 150-minute practice for this June day in muggy Maryland, and the Baltimore Ravens went hard for well over two hours," Breer wrote. "The idea wasn't lost on anyone."
That kind of work ethic has been ingrained in the Ravens since Harbaugh arrived in 2008, and it's a big part of the reason why the standard for success is so high in Baltimore.
"The expectations haven't slipped in the slightest, even with a new-look group filling the roster of this old powerhouse," Breer wrote. "Nor has the sense of urgency waned, even if the group is a little younger -- which explains why Harbaugh keeps pushing with real football still months away."
The Ravens have made the playoffs in six of Harbaugh's seven seasons at the helm, winning at least one playoff game in each of those runs. The Ravens have won a Super Bowl and made three AFC championships during that time, and Breer sees a team with those same expectations.
"For over seven years, it's worked," Breer said. "It worked for Lewis and [Ed] Reed and Ngata and [Ray] Rice, and Harbaugh's pretty sure it will for C.J. Mosley, Jimmy Smith and Eugene Monroe, too."
Ravens Reportedly Interested In Free Agent CB
It appears General Manager Ozzie Newsome may not be done on the free-agent market.
Cornerback Tarrell Brown, an eight-year veteran, said during a recent radio interview with SiriusXM that the Ravens area one of four teams who have expressed interest in signing him.
Fixing the secondary was a top priority going into the offseason after the group was decimated by injuries last year. The Ravens already brought in veteran safety Kendrick Lewis and cornerbacks Kyle Arrington and Cassius Vaughn.
"However, general manager Ozzie Newsome is fond of saying that a team can never have too many corners," wrote CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown.
Mosley Will Be Full Strength For Training Camp
This is good news for the Ravens.
Second-year linebacker C.J. Mosley expects to be full strength when the Ravens return for training camp next month, according to Aaron Wilson of The Baltimore Sun. Mosley did not practice fully during the entire offseason program after having wrist surgery.
"I'll definitely be ready for camp," Mosley told Wilson.
Mosley had a standout rookie season, leading the Ravens with 133 tackles. He became the first rookie in team history to make the Pro Bowl, and he played more snaps than anyone on the team.
The Ravens expect Mosley to again be a key piece in the middle of the defense.
"I just want to get all the way healthy and get back out there," Mosley said. "I'm looking forward to the season and playing football again. It's tough to watch when you're used to being out there."
Here's a good story from Jeff Zrebiec of The Baltimore Sun about how Steve Smith Sr.'s priorities have changed a bit in recent years. The 36-year-old receiver has four children, and he says "Being a dad is the most important thing. It's what you take ownership of. It's the real legacy of your life." [The Sun]