From 1999 to 2001, inside linebacker Ray Lewis and linebackers coach Jack Del Rio worked in tandem, eventually assisting the Ravens to their first and only Super Bowl title in 2000.
On Monday night, the duo will meet again but on opposing sidelines – Lewis playing his 16th season for the Ravens and Del Rio in his ninth year as the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“Jack was always just a true man’s man, a true professional, and I think it truly comes from his experience of playing in the game himself,” Lewis said Wednesday. “That’s kind of the way he approached work. He made work truly something that you wanted to come to every day. He’s one of those coaches that’s really motivating. Jack was always Jack.”
Del Rio, who keeps a picture of Lewis, outside linebacker Peter Boulware and inside linebacker Jamie Sharper on his office wall, also spoke fondly of his time with the Ravens during a conference call with Baltimore media Wednesday.
“It was an awesome three years that I spent there in Baltimore,” Del Rio said. “It was a good group, guys worked hard, had a lot of passion, and it was a treat to coach a group like that.”
Lewis chuckled when informed of the picture on Del Rio’s wall.
“We took that picture years ago, and honestly, anytime you win a championship with somebody, you’re going to always have those memories,” Lewis said. “So that group was special.”Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times