Baltimore Ravens: LB Ray Lewis
It would have been easy to list Terrell Suggs or Ed Reed on this list, but No. 52 gets the nod because, on the field, the linebacker was a menace to the opposition. Just ask Eddie George how he feels about Lewis. However, there was the incident after Super Bowl XXXIV, when Lewis pled guilty to obstruction of justice in connection with two murders.
During the 2000 season, some of the press and the vast majority of opposing fans took aim at Lewis, yet the Ravens kept winning. Ahead of Super Bowl XXXV, prognosticators believed that Lewis and the Ravens would fall victim to the New York Giants and, throughout much of the week, seized the opportunity to ask Lewis about his past instead of game-related questions, as explained in the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary “Bullies of Baltimore.”
Lewis got the last laugh with a 34-7 victory and MVP honors. The villain won, but underneath that persona was a gentle and caring human being. Remember that.