Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis became the first player in NFL history to play in a Pro Bowl in the same season as his team will play in the Super Bowl Sunday night when he took the field for the AFC.
"Ray didn't make the Pro Bowl team. He wasn't on the roster," said AFC head coach John Fox. "But … am I going to tell Ray Lewis he can't play? He saw all those NBC national TV cameras out there and couldn't be stopped."
Lewis quickly made his presence known, shoving national anthem singer Brian McKnight to the ground and doing a tearful dance with the American flag draped over his shoulders. He then shouted down head coaches John Fox and Mike McCarthy to give a pregame speech to both the AFC and NFC teams. Next he paced around the midfield logo for 20 minutes, pounding his chest and yelling "WOOOOOOO!" as the crowd politely clapped, many eventually leaving.
Finally, unable to remove Lewis from the field when he noticed a camera hovering over the field, referees started the game, players running full-speed past the linebacker for the opening kickoff as he continued his performance at midfield.
The Ravens legend finally wrapped the midfield portion of his routine late in the first quarter and ran off the field to stand by NBC sideline reporter Doug Flutie.
"I'm just glad to be here to be a leader for these men," Lewis said.
"Ummm … we're not on camera right now," said Flutie. "I … I didn't even ask to interview you."
"I'm crying, man," Lewis said, dumping a cup of water on his face. "Look at these tears. People will want to see this."
"No. No, thanks," said Flutie. "We're good."
A disappointed Lewis then began walking in front of every NBC camera he saw to dance, cry or scream motivational cliches. NBC eventually decided to place a camera and a scarecrow made to look like a reporter in a bear cage and lure Lewis in. With the linebacker trapped inside, the Pro Bowl was able to proceed without incident. Lewis will now be transported back to New Orleans and released at Media Day.