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Ravens HOF Ray Lewis: Titans RB Eddie George Motivated Me

Posted Feb 5, 2018

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame over the weekend, said Titans running back Eddie George pushed him to get better during his playing career.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Ray Lewis was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday, and after learning the news, he was flooded with emotions, and memories.

Here at Super Bowl LII, after he was introduced with the other new members, I asked him what he remembered about his rivalry with the Titans, and running back Eddie George. And the long-time Ravens linebacker lit up.

He thanked George and the Titans for pushing him. He said the battles with the Titans were among the most memorable of his playing career.

“Oh my goodness,” Lewis said. “Because we are so close, me and Eddie, it’s special. I told (former Steelers RB) Jerome Bettis this, and I think the same thing about Eddie. I said, ‘Thank you.’ My competition with Eddie – it molded me as a man. Eddie motivated me to get better. Dealing with Eddie George, now that’s a problem.

“You don’t sleep too comfortable dealing with a guy like Eddie. I had to get pills to go to sleep before facing him. I’m serious. You would think about a guy like that all night. You knew it was going to be a car wreck every time facing Eddie, because he was leaning.”

A 13-time Pro Bowl selection, Lewis was a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and a Super Bowl MVP in his career. Lewis started 227 games in his career and was credited with eight 100-tackle seasons.

George, who finished with 10,009 rushing yards as a Titan, squared off against Lewis and the Ravens in 16 games. George had two 100-yard games, and 973 rushing yards in his career against the Ravens, counting two postseason contests.

One of the big plays in Lewis’ career came when he collided with George on a ball thrown his way during the 2000 season’s playoffs. Lewis ended up intercepting the pass, and he returned it for a touchdown. The score sealed Baltimore’s 24-10 AFC divisional playoff win over the Titans. Baltimore went on to win the Super Bowl that year.

Another memorable encounter came during the 2003 season’s playoffs, when George played after dislocating his shoulder. Wearing a restrictive harness, George gutted out an 88-yard rushing performance against the Ravens, and he ran through Lewis on the sideline on one memorable play. The two jawed at one another after the play. The Titans won that contest.

“So many big games against the Titans," Lewis recalled. "I my mind there was nothing like that rivalry. Eddie George and Steve McNair, rest in peace, just two great teams going at it.

“It was always a dog fight between us two.

“And Eddie George, I’m telling you, that guy elevated my game in ways that I appreciate him every second of my life.”