NFL Star Ray Lewis visits London Warriors

Posted on July 20, 2012

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When a thirteen time pro bowler speaks, you listen. When a player has being the face of a franchise, a single team player, since 1996, you listen. When anyone, let alone one of the greatest linebackers of all time, fly’s across the world to be part of something you have built, you’re going to listen to what he has to say……

As most followers of the blog will know, (American) Football here in the UK is still a pretty niche sport, but it is growing both with number of players, teams and fans. This, in part has being helped by the NFL International Series that has showcased games in London the past 5 years, and has lined up to come back for the next 3. As a player, each and every game is played as if its your last, trying to juggle that work, family and sport mix, to pad up every Sunday with your brothers for pain and glory.

Ray Lewis came to England for a 3 day mini camp with the London Warriors after receiving a letter from the coaches. “They wrote me a long letter telling me how impactful it would be if I could share some time with them and speak with them,” explained the 13-time NFL all-star. “They told me they didn’t have the money and I said that for something like that, I’m not looking for money. I told my team ‘I want to go to London. I want to go talk to the Warriors.’

He came to inspire, to train with and motivate a team of guys who all live separate lives across London, before their biggest battle of the season (to date) with the defending British and European Champions, the London Blitz. “I was keen to speak to the Warriors and share my message and my story with them. The London Warriors story resonated with me for a number of reasons but mostly because of where the kids come from – most of the kids come from neighbourhoods like I came from. Most of these young men are either going through or have been going through the same things I went through. They just need some form of motivation and, for me, that was the reason I came over here.” The Warriors came from 14-0 down to win the game 18-14.

“Everybody knows I am an open book,” Lewis said. “It doesn’t matter what time of day it is, somebody is going to call me up and ask me something and I am okay with that. I realise that some people live through me and if they do that, I have an obligation to give back. The London Warriors organisation will never be the same again. Hopefully it will have a wider impact on American Football as a whole across the country, inspiring more kids to take up the call of Football, to focus their energy on this game, and reap the rewards that it has to offer. And maybe, just maybe, one of them kids may just get a shot at the big time.

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Posted in: British Football, NFL