1996: On April 20, the Ravens select Ray Lewis with their second pick in the first round of the
1997: Lewis enters second season as leader of defense, intent on establishing himself in NFL elite. "I'm still being myself, but it's different being in this position as the leader of the linebackers," he says before the start of camp. … July 29, Lewis flown to Maryland Shock Trauma with possible neck injury after training-camp collision, deemed to have no spinal-cord or nerve damage. … Sept. 14, Lewis records franchise-record and career-high 25 tackles in road win over
1998: At age 23, Lewis enters third season as one of most respected linebackers in league. "I don't just want another Pro Bowl," he says. "I want to be Defensive Player of the Year this year. Or how about Player of the Year? My concern is about being the best middle linebacker. When Ray Lewis is done playing, I want people to say that guy was the best." … Nov. 19, Lewis signs four-year, $26-million contract extension that makes him league's highest-paid middle linebacker. … Lewis misses almost three full games with dislocated left elbow but still leads Ravens in tackles with 154. … Selected to Pro Bowl.
1999: Another season, another Pro Bowl for Lewis, who is now routinely described by other players as the best linebacker in the NFL. Ravens win four of last five games, emerge as a potential up-and-comer under first-year coach
2001: Lewis completes season of remarkable swings by leading Ravens to victory in Super Bowl XXXV against New York Giants. … Lewis records 44 tackles in four playoff games as Ravens' defense allows only one touchdown. … Jan. 28, Lewis named Super Bowl MVP after recording 11 tackles against Giants. … "The thing is, the man upstairs tells you I never would take you through hell without bringing you through triumph," Lewis says in wake of victory. … Asked about Lewis' place among all-time great linebackers, general manager
2002: Lewis suffers difficult season, missing 11 games with shoulder injury and finishing year on injured reserve. … Jan. 20, Ravens' title defense stalls in 27-10 playoff loss at Pittsburgh. … Sept. 30, Lewis named AFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording 20 tackles and an interception in win over
2003: Lewis makes good on his promise to bounce back, earning Defensive Player of the Year honors for a second time as he leads resurgent Ravens to a division title. … Dec. 28, wins AFC Defensive Player of the Week with 15 tackles, interception in season-ending victory over Pittsburgh Steelers. …Sets career bests with 225 tackles, 6 interceptions. … Named first-team All-Pro by AP, Sporting News.
2004: Lewis' prime continues as he records 200 tackles, is named first team All-Pro by AP, Sporting News. Ravens finish 9-7 but miss playoffs. … Lewis misses last game of the season with
2005: Another season waylaid by injuries as Lewis misses final 10 games of the year following surgery to repair torn hamstring. Ravens finish 6-10 without their defensive leader. … Lewis accumulates 77 tackles in six games.
2006: With Lewis back in line-up for 14 games, Ravens lead league in total defense, scoring defense as they invite comparisons to record-setting 2000 unit. Team finishes with 13-3 regular-season mark, best in Ravens history. … Sept. 10, Lewis records 10 tackles, sack in season-opening victory over
2007: Year opens with disappointing home playoff loss to
2008: Ravens begin new era, return to playoffs under coach
2009: Year begins with painful loss to Pittsburgh Steelers in
2010: Lewis again leads playoff-bound Ravens in tackles, earns 12th trip to Pro Bowl. … Jan. 10, Lewis records 13 tackles, first postseason sack as Ravens crush
2011: Despite missing four games with foot injury, Lewis selected to 13th Pro Bowl, leads NFL's third-ranked defense in tackles. …Jan. 15, Ravens lose divisional playoff game to Steelers after leading 21-7. …
2012: Lewis misses last 10 games of regular season after tearing triceps. … Jan. 22, Ravens lose in AFC Championship Game to Patriots, Lewis ties for team lead with 12 tackles. … "Is this my last game as a Raven? Absolutely not," Lewis says after the game. "Let me answer that question before somebody asks it." … Lewis shows up for training camp at least 20 pounds lighter, saying quickness is more important than power in pass-happy NFL. … Registers 57 tackles in first six games of season. ..,. When asked if he'll know when to walk away, says: "I believe you always know. When you go at life as hard as I go at this game, you know when it's over."