NEW ORLEANS -- Seventeen years ago, Ravens star inside linebacker Ray Lewis was an exuberant rookie competing against Indianapolis Colts veteran quarterback Jim Harbaugh.
Rushing on an inside blitz, Lewis decked Harbaugh for the first sack of his NFL career in the Ravens' inaugural season.
"Absolutely, I remember it," said Lewis, who has 41 1/2 sacks for his career. "How could I forget it? It is one of those things that when you are playing the game when you first come in as a rookie, you are just running around. And I was just running around making plays. When I sacked him, I remember getting up and doing this dance with my shoulders, and shaking my shoulders, or whatever. And later, I became teammates with him as well. Been a long time, but the ride, I would never complain about one moment of it.”
The Colts got the victory that day, a 26-21 win despite Harbaugh being sacked four times.
Flash forward and Lewis is still racking up tackles for the Ravens as the AFC champions have reached Super Bowl XLVII.
This marks Lewis' final game before retirement. And ultra-competitive as ever, Jim Harbaugh is coaching the 49ers
"My legend grows," Jim Harbaugh quipped recently when his father, Jack, reminded him of being sacked by the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. "Ray Lewis' first sack."
Lewis and Harbaugh, once known as "Captain Comeback," were later teammates in Baltimore.
“I think he was exactly how he is as a coach," Lewis said. "He is kind of straightforward. He is a hard worker. He understands what he wants to get done. And when he comes in to get it done, he is going to do everything he has in his power to get it done. He is a very passionate person, but he always has purpose in what he is doing. That is what I remember most about Jim.”