It was Dec. 20, 2008, a Saturday game, one of those rare Saturday games. It was the last game at Texas Stadium. The Ravens were going to play the Cowboys. The Cowboys had a huge ceremony planned at the end of the game with Troy Aikman, Deion Sanders and all these Cowboy greats to have a celebration to shut down the stadium, because they were pretty confident they were going to win that game.
I was traveling with the Ravens. I was on the team bus. And then Ray came on the bus, and he didn't say anything to anybody. I've been on a million of those bus rides to stadiums, and it was eerie how quiet the bus was.
Dallas talk radio was playing, and all you could hear were these Dallas fans just ripping the Ravens and saying how this was going to be such a great ending to Texas Stadium. But the Ravens were still in the playoff hunt. They had to win against the Cowboys to even stay alive for the wild card.
I text my father from the bus and say the Ravens are going to win this game. He said how would you know that? I texted that I have never seen a team this ready. I remember thinking, "Ray Lewis is as dialed in as I've ever seen him." He was like a gladiator. He was ready for battle.
I will always have that picture of Ray. He was fierce. He was angry. As a sports reporter, you couldn't ask to be exposed to a cooler moment than to see someone who is one of the greatest ever so dialed in in his prime.