Dennis Erickson was the head football coach at the University of Miami during Ray Lewis' first two years.
I think the biggest thing was Ray and my son, Bryce, were good friends. So, Ray would come to our house a lot, and I remember playing basketball with him outside on the little hoop we had, and I remember him going up and dunking. It just kind of shows what kind of an athlete he was, but I did want to tell you it was only an 8-foot basket. I tell him not to get too excited about that.
But on the football field, he played with great enthusiasm, he was a leader. When you come in as a freshman, it's kind of hard to play really early, but he did, and he kind of came in and took over the leadership on defense and things like that.
The first time we scrimmaged, he just made plays. He was a great player because of instinct. I mean he obviously had some qualities athletically -- he could run and all that stuff -- but he just had an instinct. I remember the first time he got in a scrimmage; he made all kinds of tackles. It was kind of amazing to all of us. We had a lot of good players in those days, but he just jumped out.
His instinct, that's what made him a great player in college and then obviously a Hall of Famer in the National Football League. If you're going to say one thing about Ray it was toughness, but also his instinct to get to the football and knowing what was going on. That's why he played so long.