Ray Lewis' play on the field has earned him many awards, but the stalwart linebacker was given the unprecedented honor of having a Baltimore street named after him.
Located at the North Ave. corridor at the corner of Broadway, Lewis hopes the red sign displaying "Ray Lewis Way" in bright, white letters will be an inspiration to a typically rough neighborhood.
"If Ray Lewis Way does nothing else, just look up, instead of looking down," said Lewis. "Looking up in life, and say, 'He did it differently…' Let that be the goal."
Speaking to a damp audience due to rain that began just 10 minutes before the ceremony, Lewis had a crowd consisting of local residents, school children and city officials buzzing with his passionate words.
Lewis began his career in Baltimore in 1996 as a first-round draft pick, and the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has built his Ray Lewis Foundation into one of the area's biggest philanthropic organizations.
"All of these people with all this love and affection, that's the same love I look at y'all with, because I lean on you the same way you lean on me," Lewis told the crowd, which huddled in the DIAKON Center, where Lewis hosts and annual Thanksgiving meal distribution of nearly 1,000 Baltimore families.
"Anytime I strap on my cleats, every man knows I give everything I got," he continued. "When I walk in these streets, I hurt at night. I don't turn on the TV for the news, because I pray so hard when brothers are taking brothers' lives."
The event began with statements from Baltimore City Council President Jack Young, Reverend Jamal Bryant, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Councilman Carl Stokes, before Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh talked about Lewis' impact in the locker room and across the NFL.
Coach Harbaugh noted the amount of phone calls and texts Lewis racks up distributing counsel and friendship.
"Ray has been the heart and soul of this team," Coach Harbaugh said. "Getting to know the man over the past two years, you see that he really cares about people."
A tearful Lewis was also introduced by his mother, Sunseria Smith, and eldest son, Ray Lewis III.
"This [street] will be here forever," said Lewis III. "Now, people can come back and see Ray Lewis actually made a difference in people's lives outside the football field."
Heading out to the road after the nearly hour-long ceremony, Lewis and his family officially unveiled what is believed the first time a street has been named for a Raven.
Despite the rain on his well-tailored tan suit, black shirt and matching tie, Lewis could only smile.
"Baltimore, I can say many things but I love you with every inch of my soul," Lewis said.