Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis made two appearances on the finale of NFL Network's list of the top 100 players for 2011. The first, of course, was when he was revealed as the fourth-best player in the league -- and the highest defender on the list -- according to his peers. The second was when he introduced Tom Brady, who was named the best player in football, beating out Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson, Lewis and Ed Reed.
Lewis, along with Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, gave commentary during Brady’s highlight package, and Lewis heaped tons of praise on the Patriots quarterback, an MVP and three-time Super Bowl champion.
“He’s not the biggest. He was never the strongest. He was never the fastest,” Lewis said intensely. “He was overlooked. He went in the sixth round. So with that being said, all of the intangibles that a quarterback is supposed to have, they overlooked with him because it was burning from the inside of him.”
Brady has 34,744 passing yards and 261 touchdowns in his NFL career. In 2010, he threw for 3,900 yards and 36 TDs while tossing just four interceptions -- and it wasn’t even his best season.
“It’s a chess match because he understands every coverage, he understands every defense,” Lewis said. “And If you give it away too early, then the game is like checkers then for him. He plays it how he wants to play it. … And that’s what makes it frustrating playing against him, he always finds those mismatches.”
Lewis, whose segment as the NFL’s No. 4 player included a lot of screaming, hard hits and woooos, called Brady “the greatest of greats,” saying “he was willing to go beyond limits that people won’t go to.”
“You don’t find too many people playing that’s willing to sacrifice that much time to doing that,” Lewis said of the 33-year-old. “That’s why Tom Brady will always be considered one of the greatest of all time.”