As told to Glenn Clark
Brandon Stokley was an NFL wide receiver from 1999-2004, and was Ray Lewis' teammate from 1999-2002.
I remember getting drafted by Baltimore, and you knew who Ray Lewis was.
He was that intimidating guy in the locker room. He was already the leader of that football team. To step into the locker room was intimidating, but he made you feel welcome. He had a big presence in the locker room because he was obviously really, really good. But he made everybody feel welcome. I always appreciated that.
The other thing that stood out is his drive and his leadership skills. I've been around a couple great leaders in my career in -- obviously, Peyton Manning and Ray Lewis. They get the best out of everybody around them. That is what made Ray Lewis different. You could tell if Ray ever wasn't there at practice -- or when he was on the sideline during practice -- the level of play of that defense was just not the same. That just tells you the difference in when he was there. The impact he had, from just his competitiveness, his leadership skills just raised everyone else's play around him.
I remember me and [former Ravens defensive back] Anthony Poindexter would be in the hotel before games, and Ray would come walk by -- come in our room and we would start laughing with him and joking with him, asking him if he was going to be doing his dance. He would just interact with everybody -- made everybody feel welcome. Then when he stepped on that football field, he had a different gear. Just a good teammate that you knew you could count on.