In 15 or 20 years, Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis will sit down and have dinner with Cleveland Browns running back Jamal Lewis. They'll cherish the old days, particularly the Super Bowl run after the 2000 season.
They'll talk about how they used to train together and spur each other on at key moments during games.
But that's years down the road.
On Sunday, it will be Lewis vs. Lewis III when the Ravens (1-0) host the Browns (0-2) at 4:15 p.m. at M&T Bank Stadium.
"It's going to be another classic," Ray Lewis said, laughing. "We respect each other a great deal, but on Sunday, it's going to be a dogfight."
If you're keeping track in terms of team records, Jamal Lewis' Browns are 2-0 against Ray Lewis' Ravens. But as far as achieving that 100-yard rushing benchmark running backs covet, Jamal Lewis had just 64 yards in the first game and 92 in the second.
The obvious winners, though, are the fans because they get to see two of the game's best smash-mouth players go head-to-head. The collisions register on the Richter scale.
And the two friends don't shy away from jawing at each other.
"There is always a lot being said on the field," said Ray Lewis, who always grins when talking about competing against Jamal Lewis. "A couple of times, he thought I was trying to be dirty because I was twisting his helmet. He'd look up and say, 'All right Lew, let's keep it right.' It's nothing personal."
But sometimes, it becomes personal. Up close and very personal.
"When it's crunch time, and it's me and him in the hole, then it becomes personal," Ray Lewis said. "Real personal for both of us because we have such high respect for each other."
It was a friendship that was formed in Jamal Lewis' rookie season in 2000. Ray Lewis had already been in the league for four years, and once the Ravens drafted Jamal, Ray saw a player with characteristics similar to his own.
They were big, fast and physical. Both could take control of the game, except one was on offense and the other on defense.
"When Lew came in, we connected quickly," Ray Lewis said. "I tried to carry him through it, the business side of the game. We always understood there would be a brotherhood."
Jamal Lewis played six years in Baltimore (missing the 2001 season because of a knee injury) and became the franchise's all-time leading rusher with 7,801 yards before signing with the Browns as a free agent in 2007.
But Ray Lewis cherishes the memories on the sideline when the defense would force a punt. At key times, before Jamal Lewis would run on the field, they would talk to each other.
"I would just sit on the bench and look into his eyes, and say, 'Hey Lew, go do your thing,' " Ray Lewis said. "I know his mentality. I know how he loves to play football. I've seen that look in his eyes before."
Ray Lewis knows Jamal Lewis will play hard against the Ravens. Jamal Lewis always brings his A-game, but he'll be at the A+ level Sunday.
The Browns have struggled to run the ball in their first two games. They are averaging just 72 yards, and Lewis has 100 rushing yards on 32 carries.
That's a lot different from a year ago, when the Browns finished 10-6. In 2007, the Browns were 8-1 in games in which Lewis had 20 or more carries. He finished the season with 1,304 rushing yards.
In contrast, the Ravens have not allowed a runner to gain more than 100 yards in 19 straight games.
"My main goal is to come in and get the first win for the season," Jamal Lewis said. "That's the main goal. I think that's the goal of everybody on the team. But 100 yards, that would be good. That would be sweet, but at the same time, a victory would be better."
Jamal Lewis knows his old team well. He's aware of the two giant run stoppers up front in tackles Haloti Ngata and Kelly Gregg. He knows about the Ravens' small but agile linebackers. He is well aware of No. 52.
"I'm not looking forward to meeting any of them," Jamal Lewis said. "I hope I don't meet anybody in the middle. I hope it's wide open. But I'm sure 52 will be roaming around like he always is. The last two times we played them last year, it was an interesting game. I had a good time, and it's just what football is all about - a physical football game."
Ray Lewis looks forward to greeting his old friend. As always, Lewis doesn't see his job as going one-on-one with offensive linemen, but rather one-on-one with the other team's top runner.
This time, it's his old friend, No. 31.
"Jamal is going to hit the hole hard," Ray Lewis said. "He is going to play a physical football game. He is still the same old Jamal, trying to get downhill. As a defense, our main job is trying to make sure he doesn't get rolling.
"You know, we don't talk as much as we used to," Ray Lewis said. "We'll hit each other up every once in a while, but he has his thing and I have mine. But when you win a Super Bowl with somebody, that friendship will never die."
Listen to Mike Preston on Mondays from 4 to 6 p.m. on Fox 1370 Sports.
RAY VS. JAMAL
Game 1, Sept. 30, 2007, at Cleveland
* Score: Browns 27, Ravens 13
* Stats: Jamal, 23 carries for 64 yards, 1 TD
Ray, 5 tackles, 2 assists
Game 2, Nov. 18, 2007, at M&T Bank Stadium
* Score: Browns 33, Ravens 30
* Stats: Jamal, 22 carries for 92 yards, 1 TD
Ray, 12 tackles, 4 assists, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery
Sunday, 4:15 p.m. TV: Ch. 13 Radio: 97.9 FM, 1090 AM
Line: Ravens by 2 1/2