Ray Lewis says he still has "it"

IRVING, Texas -- The question was a simple one. The answer was anything but.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis -- a 13-time Pro Bowler and one of the NFL's all-time great linebackers -- was asked if he still has "it."

Lewis reacted with laughter

"Keep watching," said Lewis, whose Ravens host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. "I've heard that my whole career. I've never picked up a phone, I've never texted a person that writes about me. I've never had a conversation before. I don't even pay it no attention, I just keep rolling.

"It's always amazing. One of the things in athletics: The greater you become, the more weakness people look for. In any other realm of the world, your résumé speaks for itself. Your résumé dictates how much money you make on a regular 9-to-5 job and all of your credentials, they go high. That's just the way people look at you. It's just like a military service -- 'How many bars you got?' And to be where I am in my career and all people look for is, 'Oh, he's not this and he's not that.' Nobody is the same. Everybody is getting older. That's life."

A quick view of the media landscape reveals varying takes on Lewis. Baltimore writers believe Lewis' play has declined, yet ESPN.com AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley writes teams are still scared of him.

Lewis went on an offseason weight-loss program and while he looks good physically, tapes of Ravens games, including last week's against Kansas City, reveal that he's getting pushed off the ball more often than he used to be. Lewis still makes solid hits, but just not as many as he used to.

"Yeah. It was just purely a lifestyle (decision) because ... my family is dealing with a lot of personal issues health-wise," Lewis said of his weight loss. "And with me kind of being the person in front, I'm like, 'I'm doing this and I'm doing that. You guys got to start doing this. We got to start taking care of ourselves and our bodies.'

"Naturally, (weight) just really started shedding off and I was like, 'Oh, I like it.' I was like, you know what, 'Season's coming up, there's no reason to try to lift heavy and go back all into that. Let's just stay fast and stay fluid and let's just move around.' "

Lewis still has shown results on the field. He is tied for 11th in the NFL with a team-leading 43 tackles.