Last Saturday, when Ray Lewis walked onto the field at the University of Miami, a hush fell over the crowd of high school football players.
Speaking at the Hurricanes’ Paradise Camp, a football camp for the country’s elite high school players, Lewis stressed to the campers the importance of working hard, even if the competition might be stronger or faster.
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“I’ve never been the biggest, fastest and strongest,” Lewis said. “But I promise you, ain’t a man flat out outworked me in my life.”
Lewis also said that for the past 23 years he has cut out beef, pork and soda from his diet, and that as part of his NFL training, he drank two gallons of water every day.
“I hated every day of training,” Lewis said. “But if it meant to live my life as a champion the rest of my life, I’d do it all over again.”
A two-time Super Bowl champion and 13-time Pro Bowler, Lewis totaled 1,562 tackles and 41.5 sacks during his 17-year NFL career with the Baltimore Ravens.
His passion for football, and life in general, is no secret. Remember the famous dance he did when he came out of the tunnel before games?
Lewis has also given motivational speeches to the Stanford basketball program and Indianapolis Colts.
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Besides stressing the importance of hard work, Lewis emphasized the importance of battling against oneself, not other players.
“Every day of your life will be a one-on-one battle,” Lewis said. “The one-on-one battle is with yourself.”
Lewis told the campers they must not give up, even if they fail. Sylvester Stallone said it best when he played Rocky Balboa: “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”
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“It ain’t about the fall,” Lewis said. “It’s about the get up.”
Check out the full video of Lewis’ speech below.