Among the best linebackers to ever lace up a pair of cleats, Ray Lewis officially became the seventh University of Miami alum to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. It was a momentous weekend that the two-time Super Bowl winning linebacker shared with not just his immediate family, but his Canes familia as well.
After the exhibition game between the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Raven on Thursday, the league held the Golden Jacket ceremony. An even that serves as the official welcome to the HOF for inductees. The process has new inductees walk between a row of their already enshrined peers towards the stage, where they will be presented with their custom-fitted Golden Jacket. Hence why some call it “The Gauntlet.” It’s a fairly humbling experience, especially when you consider that the first hand Lewis would shake along his procession to the stage was that of LB Lawrence Taylor.
While the focus of the weekend was Lewis and the rest of the 2018 HOF class, it’s always about that U. So of course, there were a few cameos this weekend from fellow Canes legends showing their support for a fellow brother. For his part, Lewis consistently heaped praise on his alma mater for giving him the final scholarship that helped him break down the door to excellence.
"My teammates at the University of Miami...they turned me into a man." - @RayLewis pic.twitter.com/tfcpRPXEYy— Canes Football (@CanesFootball) August 3, 2018
"This ain't no sales pitch. The one thing about it, we don't sell people to come to The U. You're either for us or you're not. But if you're with us, it's for life. This is a brotherhood, a brotherhood for life."— GO 'CANES! (@83_87_89_91_01) August 5, 2018
- Ray Lewis pic.twitter.com/UtePiwpmTh
What would a Hall of Fame weekend be without some familiar faces from the U! Fellow Gold Jacket owner Warren Sapp was beaming all weekend with Lewis now a gold jacket member. Someone who could follow Lewis as part of the 2019 Hall of Fame class is good friend and former Baltimore Ravens teammate S Ed Reed, who was in Canton to support his “big bro.”
Here are some of the sights ProCane contingent in attendence.
On set w/ @richeisen @nflnetwork #hof supporting & celebrating big bro @raylewis pic.twitter.com/TDAJ2Yc2X5— Ed Reed (@TwentyER) August 4, 2018
HALL OF FAME U!! @WarrenSapp @raylewis #OTH pic.twitter.com/JElFmbYJTD— Out The Huddle (@outthehuddle) August 4, 2018
Having a great moment with these great men @ProFootballHOF @Andre_Reed83 Ozzie Newson and the rookie @raylewis #Greatness #cost and these men paid that cost and delivered GREATNESS pic.twitter.com/yUBnJX03tP— Michael Irvin (@michaelirvin88) August 3, 2018
Hall of Fame Bust-ed?!?!
Aside from Lewis thanking all those who helped make his path to the Hall possible, there were a couple features from his speech. It was hot and humid in Canton, as many of the attendees perspired for much of the event with only the relief of the Sun going down to provide any mercy. Lewis was given free reign to walk about the stage, morphing the induction ceremony into a sermon of his life.
However, it might not be anything that Lewis said or did during his speech that became a headline in its immediate aftermath. Memes and GIFs started to spawn when the bust of Lewis was unveiled before his big speech. There are some features that appear to look like Ray Ray, however, to some the likeness to Lewis is lacking.
Who do they pay to make these? If you gave me 10 guesses, 0 chance I’d land on Ray Lewis. pic.twitter.com/OOQL2phG0t— Josh Eberley (@JoshEberley) August 5, 2018
Did they give Warren Moon's bust to Ray Lewis by mistake?#PFHOF2018 pic.twitter.com/nVz7tv52kN— Ƒunhouse (@BackAftaThis) August 5, 2018
If there’s one thing about Ray Lewis, he definitely knows how to inspire a conversation. After an impassioned acceptance speech, Lewis pretty much stuck to what he knows.
In case you forgot why Ray Ray deserved to be a first-ballot HOFer, here's a reminder.
Over 1,500 career tackles.— NFL (@NFL) August 4, 2018
Two @SuperBowl rings.
Now get that Gold Jacket, @RayLewis!
: @NFLNetwork #PFHOF18 pic.twitter.com/2FvO8Djwgj