Shannon Sharpe played tight end for the Ravens from 2000–2001 and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2011.
Ray gives me a lot of credit for helping him along the way. All I did was turn on Ray Lewis' GPS. He knew how to drive; he knew where he wanted to go.
When he was going through his ordeal in Atlanta, I lived in Atlanta, and I would pick him up every day after court. We'd go work out together. Then he came to stay with me in my basement. So we ran together, we lifted together, we ate together, and we talked many a night in my kitchen about what he wanted to do. He was asking me for the best way I thought he should go about it. And I just gave him how I thought he should do certain things. I said, "At the end of the day, you're a grown man, but I'm just telling you what I think and how I think it would play out best for you."
When he came to stay with me in 2000, he had an idea, he told me what he wanted to do, and I just explained to him how I thought he should map it out, and he did the rest. I couldn't run for Ray, I couldn't lift for Ray, I couldn't eat for Ray. But just to see how he put his nose down and said, "OK, this is what I'm going to do; this is who I want to be." And to see everything that he thought he could be come to fruition, it's just unbelievable.
I'm a firm believer if you're mentoring someone, the mentor is only as good as the person being mentored. So for me, he made my job easy because he heeded some of the advice that I gave him, and he did it the right way. It gets overlooked what type of person Ray is. There's nothing that he wouldn't do for you. He was a great teammate.
The No. 1 thing when you think about Ray, you think about passion. Because that's the way he played the game. That's how he approaches everything. I'm incredibly happy for what he accomplished, but I'm happier for the man he became and the way he conducted himself. It could have gone a lot of different ways, but that's not the path or the life that he wanted. He realized that he could be so much more. And I really appreciate him for allowing me to be a part of it. The greatest middle linebacker to ever play the game, and I get an opportunity to say I played with him.