Trent Dilfer played quarterback on the 2000 Super Bowl-winning Ravens and worked alongside Ray Lewis as a commentator for ESPN.
We all have great stories of our time with Ray as a player, but I've had even better experiences with him off the field. I'd consider him one of my closest friends. I can't wait for the Hall of Fame ceremonies this summer.
Working with him at ESPN, we traveled together. So we were not just on set together, but we're traveling on airplanes and staying at hotels.
But my favorite thing with Ray is -- and we almost made a TV show about this -- was how we would watch the games. We would sit on Jon Gruden's bus to watch the "Monday Night Football" games. Ray would sit at this kind of high table in front of the TV, and we would eat our food, and then I would go to the front of the bus to lie down on like a couch to watch on another TV because I had bad knees. I would purposely mess with Ray and always take the opposite team he was rooting for. So, if he was going for the Eagles one night and they were playing the Packers, I'd be all over the Packers, and I would taunt him from the front of bus, and he would scream at me from the back of bus.
Then when a play would happen on his side, he'd run forward to the front of the bus and talk trash, and when a play happened for me, I'd run to the back of the bus and talk trash. By the fourth quarter, as we're getting ready to go out to do the postgame show, we would inevitably end up sitting right next to each other in the last moments of the game. And this game meant nothing to us; it was just a random game that we had to talk about on the air for ESPN. But you would have thought we were playing in a life-or-death chess match. You would have thought we were playing the most competitive game you've ever seen one-on-one, and it was just simply me antagonizing him every week taking the other side of a game.
It was classic. We would have the rest of the people working on "Monday Night Football" dying. And then we'd go out to the set, and it would always carry over to the postgame show. There were always these subtle little jokes about what happened on the bus, because the times on the bus were epic. They're my favorite moments with Ray. We still giggle about it today. Maybe I didn't paint that picture clearly enough, but it was just like hanging out with your best friend talking trash during a football game times a thousand.