The October issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine will hit newsstands Aug. 30. On the cover is former Baltimore Raven superstar linebacker Ray Lewis. We were given an advance look at the cover story, which stands as a must-read heading into the 2016 season for any serious NFL football fan.
Early on in the conversation with Cigar Aficionado publisher and editor Marvin R. Shanken, Lewis recalls the confident boast he made after his second active game with the University of Miami Hurricanes. He had just tallied 19 tackles, a sack and four pass-play breakups:
”The reporter asks me, ‘How good do you think you could be?’ And I said, ‘Honestly, before I leave here, I may be the greatest Hurricane ever to walk up out of the University of Miami.’ I’ll never forget the calls I got. But one of the calls was from Michael Irvin, and Mike called me and he said, ‘Damn it, that’s what we need. We got your back.’”
Cut to many years later. In 2000, Lewis led the Ravens to the most dominant defensive-season performance in league history. At one point during that run, there was a regular season game against the Houston Oilers and their formidable running back Eddie George:
“One play. It was a delayed screen. I watched that screen [on film] over 200 times, plus. [Steve] McNair, rest in peace, McNair comes out in the game and I look to the left, I say, oh my gosh — this has got to be this play. I said, “I promise you I’m going to knock him out.” I took off. By the time the ball touched Eddie’s hands, soon as it touched him, I caught Eddie on what a linebacker calls the sweet spot. [Lewis points to the side of his head.] Everything that I had been through in life I gave to that hit.”
By that point in the interview, the “everything” Lewis refers to has been outlined in poignant detail. There are also several article sidebars. One highlights the double murder charge Lewis was acquitted of in Atlanta and includes some brief new comments, while another compiles his quick thoughts on the various coaches he played for.
Previously on FishbowlNY:
Cigar Aficionado Publisher Chats With De Niro