Lewis, the 5th overall pick of the 2000 NFL Draft, was the offensive firecracker that the Ravens needed in their championship year to complement arguably the most powerful defense of all time. He put up 1300+ yards that year, including 102 in the Super Bowl, which was a rookie record. Throughout his Ravens career, he continued to bring the pain on the ground and on the scoreboard, by rushing for over 1,000 yards in all of his seasons in Baltimore (minus 2001 and 2005). His career rushing average was 1300 yards a season, and he averaged 4.2 yards a carry.
His most successful year not only as a Raven but career-wise was 2003, in which we all watched Lewis chase the all-time rushing yardage record. He finished the season with 2,066 yards, 39 yards short of the record held by Eric Dickerson in 1984. That feat also won him the NFL Offensive Player of the Year award that season, the only time that a Raven has received the honor.
Jamal Lewis was a one-of-a-kind running back. When other RBs would juke or run around the line to get some yardage, Lewis would plow through it without hesitation. On a team that has always been defense-first, Lewis was the offensive catalyst that they needed to get points on the board when the quarterbacks couldn’t hit a target to save their lives. We could always depend on Jamal to pull through for us when there was little to cheer for on the offense. While he has also not been a stranger to some off-the-field controversy (cocaine charges, unpaid loans, pending child abandonment charges), it is important to reward him for his on-the-field accomplishments, as they were very instrumental in building the Ravens into the winning team that we all know and love.
Congrats to Jamal!