How does Ray Lewis keep playing well into his 30s?
Lewis reported to minicamp on Tuesday looking trimmer than when he left in February. The Ravens' defensive leader is going into his 17th season, and decided he needed to alter his physical makeup to keep up with changing NFL offenses.
While Lewis didn't reveal how much weight he has lost, he did say he has shed some from his grueling offseason workouts.
"Anytime you come back in your 17th year, you kind of want to come back with a different mentality and different thinking," Lewis said. "So, my mentality was, change with the game."
Here's how Lewis views the game now:
Ray Lewis Returns
"There's no more true, true, true, physical, physical fullbacks that are going to come at me and sledgehammer all day," he said. "Everything is about mismatches now. And everything is about speed and about running and trying to get smaller people on the field. … Everybody wants to go with all these little five-wides and all this different stuff."
Lewis still remained a three-down linebacker last* *season, despite the prevalence of teams to try to spread him out.
There were media grumblings last year about Lewis not being able to hang in coverage, but Lewis and Head Coach John Harbaugh defended the veteran linebacker. Lewis was exceptional in pass coverage in the AFC championship against New England, even deflecting away a pass intended for shifty wide receiver Wes Welker.
A faster Lewis would likely be equipped to keep up with players like Welker, or more importantly, a tight end like New England's Aaron Hernandez.
"[He] is just another receiver playing the tight end position," Lewis said. "He's not your typical big tight end – you know, 6-5 – he's not that. And those are the things, I think, if you've been in the game so long, you just learn to adjust to it."
Lewis said he's been riding bikes (he did a radio interview during a 30-mile ride earlier this month), swimming and "refurbishing everything" from his past offseasons. He said he's putting a lot of different programs together.
"I think it becomes kind of easy [to lose weight] when you go through the things that I went through in my regiment as far as training and then as far as eating and everything," Lewis said.
"The relationship I have with my body is, go as long as you want to go."