Ray Lewis' Pro Football Hall of Fame speech includes preaching, embarrassment for his kids

From the moment Ray Lewis strapped on a wireless microphone, it was clear he wouldn’t be giving a cookie cutter Hall of Fame enshrinement speech.

Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis gives his Hall of Fame induction speech.

And what the longtime Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker delivered in a rambling 33-minute address was classic Lewis, who was well known for his fiery speeches and larger-than-life on-field persona during his NFL career.

Saturday’s speech included preaching, politicking, pregame dancing, thank-you’s to coaches and teammates from his high school days in central Florida through his final season with the Baltimore Ravens, and one classic moment of embarrassment for his children.

Here are the most notable moments:

• Lewis, roaming the stage like he was delivering a motivational speech, called for unity and togetherness in the United States, and challenged his fellow Hall of Famers to become legends that are “bigger than football.” In the same breath he called for prayer to end school violence and sex trafficking. “How can come together? The answer is simple. The answer is love,” Lewis said.


• Former Ravens teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Jonathan Ogden joined Lewis on stage, while also wearing his gold jacket, to perform Lewis’ famous Squirrel dance, the move Lewis would perform during pre-game introductions. Lewis spent plenty of time thanking former teammates, especially those on his two Super Bowl champion teams, and predicted that safety Ed Reed would join him in Canton next year, when Reed is eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time.

• Other individuals Lewis singled out during his speech: Olympic champion swimmer (and Baltimore native) Michael Phelps, who had a prime seat behind Ravens coach John Harbaugh; Browns legend Jim Brown; and Miami Hurricanes teammate Warren Sapp.

• Lewis made his teenage and college-aged children cringe when he said he still “kisses all of my kids on the mouth.” Cameras caught four of Lewis’ children, two sons and two daughters, vigorously shaking their heads “no,” proving that there is no stage too big for dad jokes.

• Lewis made just a short, and vague, reference to the 2000 trial in which he plead guilty to obstruction of justice and testified against two acquaintances who had been charged with murder, stemming from an altercation in Atlanta in which two men were killed. Saturday, Lewis said 1999 through 2001 were “some of the darkest moments of my life” and thanked former Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan and Ravens owner Steve Biscotti for their support during those years.

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Lindsay Jones on Twitter @bylindsayhjones.

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