More than a Decade after Winning the Big Game, Lakeland's Ray Lewis is Back in the Super Bowl

7:12 PM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
Ray Lewis
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Very few players know how to jump start a crowd like Ray Lewis can.

Before wining the Super Bowl MVP award and before he starring at the University of Miami, Ray Lewis shined here in the Bay Area as a do-everything football star at Kathleen High School in the early 1990s. Lewis started on offense and defense at his Lakeland school and grew into a dominant defensive linebacker.

More than two decades later, he's destined for the Hall of Fame. He's spent his entire professional career playing for the Baltimore Ravens.

Lewis left college early for the NFL and led his team to the Super Bowl win in 2001. The big game was played less than an hour from his old high school at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

This Sunday he's back in the Super Bowl. 

Lewis announced earlier this season that he plans to retire after the game, but one of Lewis' teammates, Ed Reed, told reporters at Super Bowl media day on Tuesday that he thinks Ray could return next season

See also: Ray Lewis dominates Baltimore's Super Bowl media day

Whenver Lewis does decide to walk away from football, he will leave behind a career that his hometown can be proud of.

But, h career isn't free from controversy. 

One year before winning that Super Bowl in 2001, Lewis was involved in a murder case in an Atlanta suburb

While partying in a nightclub, members of Lewis' group started fighting with another group around 4 a.m. Bullets peppered the sky, two men were stabbed to death and Lewis became a top suspect.

Lewis went from tackles to shackles. The NFL star, seemingly invincible, was facing serious charges, but, those who were closest to the Lakeland native refused to believe what lawyers kept accusing.

The trial lasted two months, and Lewis was not convicted of murder. He did plead guilty to lying to police about details from that night, and he was charged with obstruction of justice. Two of Lewis' friends were acquitted.

We still don't know who killed the two men that night in Atlanta.

Lewis is very outspoken about his faith now, and he wears it on his sleeves. His former Kathleen teammates say that night more than a decade ago changed him for the better.


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