Jermaine Lewis was at M&T Bank Stadium Sept. 29 surrounded by his former teammates as former Baltimore Ravens head coach Brian Billick was given one of the team's highest honors: a spot in the Ring of Honor.
It was an honor Billick earned during his time leading the Ravens for nearly a decade. Under Billick's watch, the Ravens, spearheaded by a dominant defense, went on to become Super Bowl champions in January 2001, which laid the groundwork for the franchise's identity for years to come.
Lewis, a receiver and returner for the Ravens from 1996-2001, is now part of another powerhouse in St. Frances Academy. Only this time, he's the one doing the coaching. He coaches the Panthers' receivers, kick returners and punt returners.
Lewis joined St. Frances as an assistant coach and has helped them to unprecedented success. Prior to losing to Mater Dei (Calif.) Sept. 14, the Panthers hadn't lost a game since 2016. Mater Dei is considered the No.1 high school team in the country.
"They were smaller than us, but they had skill," Lewis said of Mater Dei's players. "... I saw them making plays that we needed to make. It was good to see the No. 1 team. Until you see it, you don't know what to expect."
The job definitely keeps Lewis busy. St. Frances traveled to Montvale, N.J., to face St. Joseph Regional Sept. 28, then Lewis had to get back to Baltimore for the Ring of Honor ceremony Sept. 29. The Panthers traveled to Florida to face Venice High School Oct. 4.
But Lewis enjoys what he's doing now; a big reason for that is because his son is a senior on the team. Lewis said his son, Ali, is planning on going to college, but Lewis doesn't think it will be for football. Lewis would prefer Ali focus on being a "regular human being" rather trying to get an athletic scholarship.
"I really just want him to focus on like and being a better adult," Lewis said. "Football is such a small percentage to make it, so I'd rather him focus on just being a normal person."
Still, he's able to keep in touch with what's going on with the University of Maryland, his alma mater. Lewis, who played at Maryland from 1992-1995, is the program's all-time leader in receiving yards (2,932), receptions (193) and touchdown catches (21). Now, Terps head coach Michael Locksley makes occasional visits to watch the Lewis' Panthers play.
"There was a big buzz around Maryland like there hasn't been for a while," Lewis said. "He's known for recruiting and his offensive skills. So once he keeps getting his players in there, they'll start ... operating to how his system works."
As for making St. Frances a pipeline for the Terps, Lewis doesn't like to push his players, but he is quick to remind his players that they don't have to go far to have success. Receiver DJ Moore and safety Darnell Savage were first-round picks in 2018 and 2019, respectively.
"I tell them they have just as much or better chance of making it at the NFL at Maryland because you'll have the hometown love and have a chance to develop," Lewis said. "Maryland had two first-rounders in back-to-back years, so that's great right there."
For more from Lewis, listen to the full interview here: