Ray Lewis addresses controversial past

January, 29, 2013
1/29/13
9:00
AM ET
NEW ORLEANS -- When the Ravens were in the Super Bowl 12 years ago, linebacker Ray Lewis was repeatedly asked throughout the week about the double murder case in Atlanta the year before. On his first day at this year's Super Bowl, the incident was brought up again.

“Honestly, I don’t know nobody that has ever lived a perfect life," Lewis said. "I have saw people that went through things before and realistically, most of the time what happens, when somebody goes through adversity, you really find out what their true character is. I think for me, people really now have taken time to find out who I am. They are really learning what my character is."

Lewis
Lewis
Over the years, Lewis hasn't talked or been asked about the events in Atlanta. And, if Lewis hadn't announced that he was retiring at the end of the season, I'm not sure if this becomes a major topic of conversation at this Super Bowl.

But, by Lewis making it public that he is closing out his 17-year career, the focus shifts to his legacy and the incident in Atlanta is just as much a part of that as being named defensive player of the year and Super Bowl MVP. His detractors point to him pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice and was fined $250,000. His supporters argue that Lewis has never been in trouble since, showing he has learned from his past.

"My character is simply to make this world a better place, to encourage people that no matter what you’re going through, it ain’t really what you’re going through," Lewis said. "It’s your mindset when you’re going through it. So, when you see all the support that I’m getting right now, I’m in total awe of the respect that some people have of someone who has been through adversity but found his way out and really just shown what my true character is and who I am as a person.”

For his final game, Lewis is bringing his entire family to the Superdome, including his mother, father and children. The only exception is his grandmother, who is ill.

“Everything is complete now," Lewis said. "Any time you can finish your career with your whole family by your side, I think that’s the way you always should do it.”

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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