Ray Lewis came to the University of Miami for a book signing of his new memoir “I Feel Like Going On: Life, Game, and Glory” on Wednesday afternoon. Lewis signed copies of his book and took pictures with around 250 fans from noon until 3 p.m. inside the Whitten University Center.
Before the event, Lewis spoke to The Miami Hurricane about the state of the Hurricanes football team and the recent firing of Head Coach Al Golden. Lewis does not know if the firing needed to happen, but he said, “We need to turn this program around. Bottom line.”
Lewis, who starred for the Canes from 1993-95, believes the responsibility is on the players’ shoulders to make the team great again. The future NFL Hall of Famer said it doesn’t matter “what coach you bring in” if the team wants to avoid more performances like the 58-0 embarrassment against Clemson last Saturday, the worst loss in school history. “The only people that are going to change what that looked like the other day is the players,” Lewis said.
For Lewis, the historic loss to Clemson was about more than just a difference in talent between the two teams. “What you saw the other day, I always view it as much deeper than just talent. Sometimes a lack of leadership can be a key ingredient missing,” Lewis said.
When Lewis played for the Canes, he said the team was “really about togetherness and effort.” That isn’t necessarily the case for the present team in his view. “The field play isn’t about the scoreboard. It’s about the effort for each other. When you kind of watch the games, that’s what’s missing,” Lewis said. “It’s ownership [of] what you do on the field. It’s about you and your teammates.”
Lewis went through a coaching change of his own at Miami. Butch Davis took over for Dennis Erickson going into Lewis’ junior year and the two left on difficult terms when the linebacker entered the NFL Draft before his senior season. Davis is a popular name among fans for the head coach position and recently said he would “love to be considered for that opportunity” in an interview on “790 The Ticket.”
“Butch will always be a strong candidate,” Lewis said. “As far as him coming back, I think we should really take our time and find the right person that’s going to bring in the right energy and the right passion back to this university. That’s what we deserve. That’s what we left here.”
Ed Reed, a former Hurricane great and teammate of Lewis’ from 2002-12 for the Baltimore Ravens, said that he would listen if Miami called him about the head coaching job on the “Rich Eisen Show” on Monday. Although the recently retired safety has never coached before, Lewis believes Reed “would be a good coach at anything because Ed understands what it takes,” Lewis said. “Whatever Ed puts his mind to, he can really do it.”
Lewis laughed when asked about potentially replacing Golden, but wouldn’t rule out coaching in his future. “I close no door. I keep all doors open,” Lewis said.
One of the most beloved Canes of all time, Lewis talks about his childhood, his time at Miami and his playing days in the NFL among other subjects in the new book. “I think a lot of people have seen my story,” Lewis said, “but a lot of people never heard my exact story told from me.”