Ray Lewis III signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Miami to play football for the Hurricanes Wednesday.
It was a proud moment for the running back from Lake Mary Preparatory School near Orlando and for his father – new Super Bowl champion Ray Lewis.
"I mean, it's a great accomplishment. What mother, what father wouldn't want to watch their kid sign some free education for the next four years to be able to go to the University of Miami,” said the 37-year-old linebacker, who retired from the NFL after winning the Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.
The U happens to be the same school where the father excelled on the football field. That legacy is special to him.
"He had always said he was going to go to the University of Miami and to see it come so true today, it's just no greater reward as a father to be here right next to his side right now,” Lewis said. “It's just an awesome ride."
A great ride because Lewis continues to watch his son grow in many ways. Not only on the football field, but also with his knowledge of the game.
"I just think where he is right now, has been a process for many, many years and watching him get to this point. We knew it was going to happen, we just didn't know it was going to happen like this,” the father said.
Even though Lewis III has made a name for himself on the gridiron at Lake Mary Prep, he's looking forward to making a name for himself at the University of Miami. But he knows that the comparisons to his father will be there.
"I don't feel none of that pressure, any of that,” he said. “I'm just going to go out there and play to the best of my ability and the outcomes are uncontrollable – whatever happens, happens."
For Lewis, his life as an NFL player has come full circle. And it started with the birth of his son.
"I made a stand my junior year in college, the year he was born,” Lewis said. “I made a stand that it was time to go to the league and now the year he walks into college, I made another stand to say it's time for me to leave the league."
There's no doubt that the competitive DNA is in the Lewis blood. Lewis III broke a number of school records as a running back at his high school.
"His first record to get is to outrun me. We can set it up now,” the father said. “We can go outside right now. I can take the suit off. I can take the suit off too!”
Then, laughing, he said that he just finished playing about 48 hours ago, so he can’t.
Lewis also won the Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2001, when he was the game’s MVP.
He was asked Wednesday what is more special – a Super Bowl victory in his final year, or watching his son, in front of the cameras, get a full ride to play football at his alma mater.
"I don't think one outweighs the other. I just think both of them are totally separate ’cause one was for me for them and this was for him,” Lewis said. “And for me, I'm just sitting back and enjoying it all."
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