Ex-Ravens LB Ray Lewis says that Ray Rice put a lot of people in jeopardy

September 21, 2014|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

In his appearance this morning on ESPN's NFL Countdown, former linebacker Ray Lewis defended Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome, but he added that the organization probably would like a do-over in its handling of the Ray Rice fallout.

"I’ve known Ozzie Newsome now over 19 years over my career. That’s half of my life. I’ve known Steve Bisciotti over 15 years of my life. And each one of those men, bottom line, has never lied to me once," an emotional Lewis said. "They’ve given me an opportunity at life to change, not only my life, but my family’s life, as well as my kids’ life. If this incident, what we’re dealing with, if they could do this all over again, they would. The NFL could do this all over again, they would."

The Ravens released Rice, who had been one of Lewis' closest friends, after video surfaced of him punching his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, in an elevator of an Atlantic City, N.J., casino in February. The organization's response to the incident continues to be widely criticized.

"Sometimes we forget why we’re here. We’re here for one reason and one reason only, we’re here for domestic violence," Lewis said. "We’re here because we saw a friend of mine brutally hit his wife in the face in an elevator. Some things you can cover up, and then there’s some things you can’t."

The comment drew immediate derision because of Lewis' past. Lewis pled guilty to obstruction of justice after initially being accused of double murder following an altercation outside of an Atlanta nightclub after Super Bowl XXXIV.

"Right now is a sad day for me because the reputation that I left in this organization, this isn’t it. This isn’t it," Lewis said. "What was built that many years took hard work to get that. It took a hell of a reputaiton to put on the line, men’s families and men’s lives, and how to actually get acclimated as a pro. … So yeah, am I little bit offended when you talk about a guy by the name of Ozzie Newsome?

"Absolutely, because he’s one of the five-star generals in this world as a man. And I don’t want us to lose fact, I don’t want to lose what’s going on here. Ray Rice put a lot of people at jeopardy with his actions. A lot of people at jeopardy, not just himself. He needs to understand that because none of this happens if what happened that night in the elevator don’t happen."

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