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Mike Preston: Ray Lewis needs to stop being so self-serving

This is the second time I have heard or seen comments from former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis questioning the Ravens lack of leadership this season, and the latest apparently stems from the recent problem with offensive tackle Bryant McKinnie and receiver Jacoby Jones.

Come on Ray, stop being so self-serving.

Remember, you lobbied for McKinnie. And twice during the last two years you were here, he came into training camp late and overweight. Where was your leadership then?

Where was your leadership with Bam Morris, Ralph Staten, Derrick Alexander and Sergio Kindle? Where was your leadership last year when there was a near mutiny of coach John Harbaugh after the blowout loss in Houston? Where was your leadership in 2004-05 when that clique you were in with Deion Sanders and Corey Fuller divided the team? Where was your leadership when you sulked on the sidelines one season because you didn't get a new contract?

NFL teams are nothing more than society in microcosm. All teams have cliques. On one side, you are going to have your "Bible thumpers." On another side, you are going to have the party animals. A lot of players hang out with guys who play the same position. White guys usually hang out with white guys and black guys usually hang out with black guys.

It is what it is.

That's the beauty of game day. On Sunday afternoon, all the players come together for one goal and that is to win. But off the field, there are always going to be incidents or problems. Players might get paid a lot, but they are still human. They still have vices, problems and weaknesses like all of us.

The Ravens have leaders on this team. Joe Flacco is a leader. So is Vonta Leach, Marshal Yanda, Dallas Clark and Ray Rice. On defense, Terrell Suggs is a leader, as well as Elvis Dumervil, Haloti Ngata and Lardarius Webb. Players lead in different ways. They all don't have a signature dance, beat on their chest or call this "my team" or "my city."

Lewis had his own way of leading. He was a great leader on the field. He made others around him better, the ultimate compliment of a leader. He worked with younger guys and often took them home to study film or teach life lessons. That was his style, his way. It was unique. But that doesn't mean the Ravens are void of leadership. A big black hole sucking down the franchise wasn't created just because No. 52 left.

That's impossible.

If Lewis was such a great leader and role model, then there should have been others behind him ready to fill that role.




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Trevor Pryce: Ray Lewis wouldn’t have stopped the party

It’s not just current Ravens who are rolling their eyes at Ray Lewis’ pontificating.

Former teammates who have also transitioned into the say-things-in-exchange-for-money phase of their careers also find him to be a bit of a gasbag.

Former Ravens defensive end Trevor Pryce, who now works for FOX Sports, said Lewis went too far suggesting the leadership void (i.e. the lack of him) contributed to Jacoby Jones reportedly getting cracked over the head with a bottle swung by a stripper named Sweet Pea.

“Here’s the thing about the Ray Lewis leadership thing, when you start telling the media that things would be fixed if you were there, that can be a little self-serving,” Pryce told Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “Once you read the narrative about yourself, that’s the narrative you’re going to stick with. God bless him, but they asked Ray that question knowing exactly what the answer will be.”

Pryce said the only surefire way to avoid getting brained by a stripper named Sweet Pea is to not go out where strippers named Sweet Pea might be congregating, and to avoid bottles of things that might be applied to your skull, internally or externally.

And to be honest, the fact they were on a party bus means none of them were driving, which implies some degree of responsibility, in a perverse sort of way.

“Well, the only way to avoid is to not have a party at all. It was a party, and it went wrong,” Pryce said. “That’s not a question of leadership. That’s what is making the current Ravens upset about it is because they’re saying, ‘We were going to have this party regardless if Ray was here or not.’

“That’s the disconnect between what’s real and what leadership is what [and] a leadership would do. . . .To me, this doesn’t show any leadership issue. It’s just one thing that happened and people found out about it, but it doesn’t mean the Ravens are all of a sudden out of control with Ray Lewis gone. Know what I’m saying?”

Most people seem to get that, at least people not named Ray Lewis, who can’t imagine an operation that lacks a certain degree of Ray Lewis being able to reach the sublime heights of Ray Lewis-dom.


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