Hey, Jamison


December 12, 2008|By JAMISON HENSLEY

Each week, Baltimore Sun reporter Jamison Hensley will answer questions about the Ravens. To submit a question, e-mail sports@baltsun.com. Give your name and phone number so we can verify the e-mail.

HEY, JAMISON: : Why do the Steelers' helmets have the logo on only one side? I think it is the only team in college or pro to have that.

Joe Fitzpatrick, Baltimore

HEY, JOE: : The Steelers logo, which is based on the Steelmark logo belonging to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), was first placed on the helmets in 1962. According to the team's official Web site, the Steelers didn't know whether they would like the look of the logo on an all-gold helmet, so the equipment manager was instructed to put it on just the right side.

That season, the Steelers finished 9-5 and became the best team in franchise history at that point. Because they wanted to mark their berth in the Playoff Bowl, they changed their helmet color from gold to black, which highlighted their new logo.

With the new-found success, the team decided to keep it permanently. And you're right, the Steelers are the only NFL team that sports its logo on only one side of the helmet.

HEY, JAMISON: : Is there something to the appearance that Ray Lewis is the biggest he has ever been in his career? Every time I see the guy on the field, I can't help but marvel at how thick, strong and dominant he appears. He looks to be in his best shape and, even though he states he won't play forever, he certainly seems like he has got the strength and speed to continue for quite awhile! And just a few years ago he looked tired, slow, and on the downside.

Todd Paul, Hanover, Pa


HEY, TODD: : You have a keen eye. Lewis has been playing at 260 pounds this season, which is about 15 pounds heavier than he has been playing at in the past. On the Purple and Black Attack radio show, Lewis explained that he started feeling the hits when he delivered them. So the Pro Bowl linebacker decided to bulk up this season.

The results have been extremely positive. I haven't seen Lewis hit this hard since 2003. He absolutely crushed Browns tight end Kellen Winslow over the middle to break up one pass. He also broke Rashard Mendenhall's shoulder, ending the season for the Steelers running back.

Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan said he doesn't know whether you can tell that Lewis has added the weight. "But he's playing big," Ryan said. "He's hitting people, and they're going backward."

HEY, JAMISON: : While he still has several years left to go, Ed Reed can already be considered one of the best safeties of all time. Who are considered the best of all time and how do you think Reed stacks up against them?

Mike McQuigg, Miami, Fla.

HEY, MIKE: : The three best safeties of all time are Ronnie Lott, Ken Houston and Paul Krause. Lott, who played for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1980s, redefined the position with his hard-hitting style, recording 100 tackles in five seasons. Houston, who split his career between the Houston Oilers and Washington Redskins during the 1960s and 1970s, was a playmaker who once held the record for most interception returns for touchdowns (nine). And Krause intercepted 81 passes in a career that included starting four Super Bowls for the Redskins and Minnesota Vikings in the 1960s and 1970s.

It's hard to put Reed in that category yet because of longevity. Lott, Houston and Krause played for at least 13 seasons. Reed is in his seventh.

If the neck injury doesn't curtail his career, I believe Reed will go down with Lott as the two best safeties to play the game. It'll then be a debate on which style you prefer. Lott was a physical presence, a linebacker playing safety. Reed is a playmaker who can win games by intercepting a pass in one end zone and taking it to the other.

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