The team's second pick in the first round of the 1996 NFL draft, Lewis was one of the players the Ravens trotted out at an event during which potential season-ticket buyers could select their seats at the stadium.
Captain D struck up a conversation with the quiet, serious-looking rookie out of Miami.
"I didn't know much about him," he recalls. "I asked him: 'Are you any good?' And I'll never forget this quote. He said: 'I can hold my own.'"
Captain D laughs again. "The understatement of the year! And like I tell Ray now: 'We go way-y-y back.'"
Over the years, Captain D polished his game-day persona as a super-fan.
He had heard about the exploits of the legendary "Wild Bill" Hagy, who drank half the contents of a Budweiser factory and led cheers from atop the home-team dugout at Memorial Stadium when "Oriole Magic" was in its heyday in the late 1970s and early '80s.
And he'd heard about Leonard "Big Wheel" Burrier, who got just as plastered and bellowed C-O-L-T-S! cheers to 45,000 true believers on Sunday afternoons in the mid-'70s, back when Bert Jones went deep to Roger Carr and football in Baltimore was still a civic religion.
But getting beered up wasn't Captain D's style. He didn't drink before or after games, and still doesn't.
"I'm not putting down what [those] guys did," he says of Hagy and Burrier. "It's kind of different now. I'm more conscious of my image. Because when people see me, they think I work for the Ravens ... even though I don't."
With each passing season, Captain D added bits and pieces to his game-day outfit. Eventually, with the spikes and chains and camo pants and boots, he became a stark, surreal vision in purple and white. It was what a Ravens fan might look like if he came straight out of one of those dystopian "Mad Max" movies.
The look was not for everyone — and certainly not for every occasion. Once, he recalls, a woman at a Ravens game invited him to her daughter's bat mitzvah.
"But you can't come dressed like that!" she told him.
In some ways, this was like telling Superman to show up at an affair and ditch the cape and tights for a nice three-piece suit.
But Captain D went with the flow and showed up for the ceremony in a shirt and tie before changing into his alter-ego costume for the party afterward.
It was the Ravens' Super Bowl season of 2000 that dramatically ratcheted up Captain D's profile as a super-fan. Now the Ravens, behind fearsome NFL Defensive Most Valuable Player Ray Lewis, were no longer the league's weak sisters when it came to stopping the other team's attack.
"DEE-FENSE! was the rallying cry on every Ravens fan's lips. That season, the defense set a 16-game record for fewest points (165) and rushing yards (970) allowed. And the Ravens went on destroy the New York Giants, 34-7, in Super Bowl XXXV.
No, no one in the stands was telling Captain D to shut up about the defense anymore.
In fact, just the opposite occurred.
"All of a sudden, I was some kind of defensive [football] genius," he chuckles. "Down at the Inner Harbor, I was getting interviewed on Channel 11 and Channel 5. They were asking: 'Captain D, what do you think about this defense and that one?' So that was kind of funny."
Twelve years later, Captain D is bigger than ever with Ravens fans. He has almost 7,000 Facebook fans, and his smiling face appeared all over the city on billboards for M&T Bank a few years back.
He sits in section 513, row 17 at home games. But unlike Wild Bill Hagy and Big Wheel Burrier, Captain D doesn't feel the need to windmill his arms and scream himself hoarse and breathe life into the fans.
"I never really saw him as a 'crazed super-fan,' " says Patricia Hurst of Abingdon, who has worked a number of charity events with Captain D and has seen him at the stadium. "I've never witnessed him doing anything [outrageous])."
Instead, Captain D sees himself as more of a laid-back, goodwill ambassador for Ravens Nation.
Early in the game, he'll rise from his seat and begin a slow pilgrimage throughout the stadium, stopping to sign autographs and pose for pictures and chat with fans. Rarely does he have a moment to himself.
"Sometimes it's tough to talk to him," says Grossman, who also sits in section 513. "He's constantly having people come up to him. I can't take it. I get about two minutes of conversation. And then it's like: 'I gotta go, Captain D.'"
But these wanderings are no mere ego stroll for Captain D. Making fans smile seems to bring him more joy than anything else. So does reinforcing their sense of community on crisp autumn afternoons.
"That's the best thing about being Captain D," he says.
It's a way of giving back, he says. But he gives back in lots of other ways, too.
Captain Dee-Fense lives in Waldorf with his wife, whom he declines to name, saying she's a "very private person." They have two grown daughters and a granddaughter.