Ravens coach John Harbaugh backs Ray Lewis as first-ballot Hall of Famer

In many circles, former Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis is considered a lock as a first-ballot selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Count Ravens coach John Harbaugh as one in full agreement with that sentiment.

Lewis, who played his entire 17-year career with the Ravens, earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2000 and 2003, was named Super Bowl XXXV MVP and was a first-team All-Pro seven times.

Less than a day after Lewis was announced as one of 11 eligible first-year players to be inducted in Canton, Ohio, Harbaugh said the organization’s second of two first-round draft picks in 1996 should be a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame. And Harbaugh seemingly took it one step further for voters who might obstruct Lewis’ candidacy based on off-field controversies such as pleading guilty in 2000 to obstruction of justice in connection with the stabbing death of two men in Atlanta during Super Bowl XXXIV festivities.

“Ray Lewis is definitely a first-ballot, unanimous selection for the Hall of Fame – no question,” Harbaugh said. “I mean, there’s no doubt about that. If anybody votes against him, then there’s an agenda. There’s no question about it. [Free safety] Ed Reed [who is eligible for the Class of 2019]? Same thing. No question about it.”

Lewis would join left tackle Jonathan Ogden, the organization’s first Hall of Famer who was inducted in 2013.

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