No. 21 Stickers/More Ray Lewis
Anyone else a little thrown off by the actual sight of the sitckers on the helmets of this Dallas/Green Bay game?
Kinda makes it a little more real, even despite the thousands of words I've already written about Sean's passing.
Wanted to let you guys know that the powers that be here at The Post have me blogging my guts out for at least the next 4-5 days, including from down in Miami Monday, so this will be my priority for a while with my duties for the print edition takng a back seat. I'll continue to plug away as best I can on all fronts.
Also wanted to pass along the transcript of Ravens LB Ray Lewis's conference call today. Lewis was a mentor to Sean and spoke at length about what he is going through this week. It's pretty long, but I figured some peope out there would want to see the entire exchange, so I'll pass it on, with a assist to Camille Powell, who forwarded the text to me.
Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis
November 29, 2007
RL: I'm going to be very brutally honest with all of you. Right now is a very emotional time for me because there's a lot going on. The Sean Taylor incident and all - that is really, as a man and as someone that I've kind of mentored, too, it kind of makes you reflect on life. Like I told my guys, it's not anything against the game itself, but when you have to slow down and life brings up this type of issue that you're having with Sean, it kind of takes away everything else. That's why - as far as the game - yeah, I'm going to be there to play, but emotionally I'm just really trying to get through these next couple of days. Dealing with his family, in and out and just trying to deal with a lot of issues, trying to help them out. Football is kind of on the back burner as far as this questioning and that's what I told my guys. I'm not trying to blow you off, but there's just a lot going on with me right now on this end, trying to help the situation out and trying to get over that. [I'm] staying focused on what I've got to do and just let God work and do what He does, but it's a really challenging time for me. I will tell you that because it took me back to when my roommate got killed. It's just a lot of things that brought up a lot of old wounds. I don't want to be disrespectful and do the interview, but I just... the energy to talk about something that, I'd be lying to you, trying to create something that isn't real right now because it's a very emotional time for me.
Q: Are you up for a couple of questions?
RL: I just want to make this real brief because, like I said, football has been the last thing on my mind. You guys don't even have a clue how late I've been up every night just trying to deal with all these different issues. Football, right now, is really the last thing on my mind, but I'll take one or two if we can make it quick, please.
Q: It might sound insensitive, I hope it doesn't, just based on the power of the words you just spoke to us, but what are your thoughts on Adalius [Thomas] and where that situation lies now.
RL: What situation?
Q: The back and forth between you.
RL: Guys, look, I'm totally sorry, but there's no way I can. I just lost one of my closest friends and we're talking about me and Adalius? Wow, I don't understand that and that's why I didn't want to have this conversation. I don't understand that. We're about to play the New England Patriots, I've never played against AD [Thomas]. I'm not going to play against AD. To try to relive something like that when someone loses their life and we're trying to relive gossip, I don't have energy for it. I don't have energy for it. That's what I'm trying to stay away from. If I could just play football and deal with my boy's death and get through this week, I'm good because this really shows you that's really not important if that's what everybody else wants to talk about.
Q: Is going to be tough for you to try to focus on football on Monday night?
RL: It's rough man. When you lose someone like that it isn't for play. This is a young guy who reached out to me and he was a great guy. I just can't brush it off like that without showing respect to who he was and what he stood for. I'm just going to stand my ground with that and understand that life is way more important than any game and anything else that everyone wants you to talk about. Like I said, it's just a disturbing time right now for the entire human family, but when you're as close as I was to him it kind of hits you. Everything else, I'm kind of separated from.
Q: Do you think Sean [Taylor] was misunderstood in the way that he had been portrayed in the media?
RL: Of course, of course. The sad part about every incident, you bring up all of this old stuff in its past and he's the one that's been victimized. He's the one that somebody came in and did something to him and people have the nerve to pull up this guy's past. That's disturbing. That's disturbing when you see a young guy that pure [who] found himself in some rough situations, or whatever. But when you see the media pull up his rap sheet and things that he's been through. I don't see where there is respect in that. I think he was totally misunderstood and, definitely, the way a lot of people are trying to bring up this old stuff is just frustrating. It's frustrating to know that a young kid at 24-years old is gone and there is no more Sean Taylor and that guy came from my school, that guy I watched, that guy I raised. Misunderstood, I think, is kind of an understatement.
Q: Do you plan to do anything special to honor Sean's memory on Monday?
RL: Yeah, I mean not just Monday. Every day I've been reading different scriptures just to keep my motivation going and just keep his spirit alive - pretty much the same thing I'd done when my roommate got killed, things like that. It removes you totally from the world's expectations and it shows you that life is really real. Life is really real and we only get one. Sean isn't coming back. Sean isn't coming back and that's the thing, for me, is just holding his memory and isolating myself and saying, "God, you know what? If I have been selfish in a lot of things that I've done. If I've been selfish about winning and losing, if I've been selfish about anything Father, forgive me. Forgive me because you've shown me that people have bigger problems than I could ever have." And when Sean... when this hit home, there's no way I can explain it, I want to, guys, but there's no way I can explain it outside out of just trying to keep myself together and just keep on moving on. Life brings a lot of hurdles and some of them you can't go around. Some hurdles you have to go through and this is one I've got to go through and this too shall pass. Everything will take care of itself.
Q: You said that Sean had sought you out, can you kind of clue us in as to when that was?
RL: It's been for years. That's what I'm saying, it's not just Sean. This has been numerous times. No matter where I've seen him, he always knew he could reach out to me for whatever reason. It's not just Sean, but numerous guys who call me for whatever, advice. You get attached to these kids very quickly. You look at them as one of your own, young kids like Ed Reed or Willis McGahee and the young kids who came up under me. I was the older guy so it was my thing to take these guys up under my wing and try to lead them and show them the right things. But when you lose one of your youngsters like that, you have to take a step back yourself to say, "What's important? What important right now in my life?" And what's important is now educating these young kids to let them know that the world isn't as sad as we think it is, sometimes... be careful. That where I'm at with this Sean thing and me really being there for him and things like that and try to let everything go smooth, get over this week and, hopefully, God brings a lot of peace around, not only me, but his family and the Hurricane family and we can move on from there.
Q: How hard is it to walk away from your past? I mean, the way a lot of young football players grow up and it's just black men targeting black men...
RL: I think the thing that everybody keeps missing is that it's not the hard part walking away, the hard part is that they've got you in this fish bowl so no matter what you do, your contract is in the paper, everything is always publicized. You're in a fish bowl so, ultimately; whether it comes sooner or later someone is going to get whatever... Is it hard to walk away from your past? I just think a lot of things that this business creates keeps your past around. Your business isn't your business. I don't walk around the locker room and show off my paycheck stub with everybody because that's my business. That's me and my wife's business so why should all of that be publicized to the world? Because if it does, I tell you, it only creates and opens up things, crazy stuff like this happening so getting away from your past is one thing once you've forgotten about it, but then you realize it isn't you that keeps up with your past, it's everybody else that wants to keep your past going.
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