If you were to ask New York Giants legend and NFL Hall of Famer Harry Carson who he enjoys watching play the position he played, he would tell you Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. Carson can relate to the feelings of playing in your final season, that Lewis is currently experiencing. Not only can he relate, but he has observed several similarities between Lewis and himself, as well as some differences.
Carson reminisced the first time he met Lewis to Steve Serby of the New York Post, which occurred before he was voted into the hall of fame.
“When I first met him, I was in awe of him,” Carson said, “but he was also in awe of me.”
“Whenever I would go places, people, just to make conversation, they would ask, ‘Who was the toughest player you’ve played against?’ or ‘Who was the toughest running back?’ ” Carson said. “Sometimes I’d get a question like, ‘Who do you like seeing play your position now?’ and I would say, ‘Ray Lewis.’”
“You’ve got to have a lot of heart to play that throwback, mean middle linebacker position,” Carson said. “Ray Lewis is certainly following along the path of many of those guys who were great middle linebackers — not just linebackers, but middle linebackers.”
Not only were their playing styles comparable, but they were also strong leaders for their teams. However, Carson can't help but notice how different their leadership tactics are.
“Ray is by far so much more flamboyant than I was with the dancing and everything,” Carson said, chuckling. “He verbalized himself more on the sideline and on the field than I did. I was trying to think about what I had to do. If there was something that needed to be said, I would say it. But Ray is one of those guys, he tries to be that focal point where guys can rally around. I was more of a drill sergeant who chewed people out if I needed to do it.”
Carson and Lewis clearly share many similarities, but the trait that stands out most is their passion and love for the game. When Carson was asked what he believed Lewis' legacy would be, he had nothing but good things to say for the soon to be retiree.
“Obviously, there are going to be some who will always equate Ray Lewis with what happened in Atlanta,” Carson said, referring to Lewis pleading guilty to obstruction of justice following the stabbing deaths of two men during a fight in 2000. “Some people will always look at him and have that in the back of their mind. But if you’re a football fan, you’re going to look at him and you’re going to have to say he’s one of the greatest middle linebackers in the game. In terms of longevity, in terms of effectiveness, Ray has been there for a long time, and that position, after a few years, you start to break down. He certainly has played at a high level for an extended period of time.”
Also…Baltimore, Baltimore Ravens, Football, Harry Carson, Lawrence Taylor, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Ray Lewis