From the moment Ray Lewis strapped on a wireless microphone, it was clear he wouldn’t be giving a cookie cutter Hall of Fame enshrinement speech.
And what the longtime Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker delivered in a rambling 33-minute address was classic Lewis, who was well known for his fiery speeches and larger-than-life on-field persona during his NFL career.
Saturday’s speech included preaching, politicking, pregame dancing, thank-you’s to coaches and teammates from his high school days in central Florida through his final season with the Baltimore Ravens, and one classic moment of embarrassment for his children.
Here are the most notable moments:
• Lewis, roaming the stage like he was delivering a motivational speech, called for unity and togetherness in the United States, and challenged his fellow Hall of Famers to become legends that are “bigger than football.” In the same breath he called for prayer to end school violence and sex trafficking. “How can come together? The answer is simple. The answer is love,” Lewis said.
MORE HALL OF FAME:
Dawkins delivers powerful message in HOF speech
Moss makes subtle, but important message at HOF
T.O. blasts media-controlled HOF election process
Former coach to T.O.: ‘Wish you were here’ at HOF
Kramer eloquently speaks of Lombardi-era Packers
• Former Ravens teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden joined Lewis on stage, while also wearing his gold jacket, to perform Lewis’ famous Squirrel dance, the move Lewis would perform during pre-game introductions. Lewis spent plenty of time thanking former teammates, especially those on his two Super Bowl champion teams, and predicted that safety Ed Reed would join him in Canton next year, when Reed is eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time.