Ray Lewis has no doubt where he stands in this year’s Hall-of-Fame pecking order. He stands at the top.
“With what I did with that position, I don’t know if I’d put anyone in front of me,’’ said Lewis, who also admitted it was “humbling to be considered with the Dick Butkuses, Willie Laniers, Mike Singletarys. It blows my mind every time I think about it.’’
Lewis and all-decade center Kevin Mawae are among the 17 finalists whose fate will be decided on Feb. 3, the day before Super Bowl LII, and they stopped by to visit with Talk of Fame Network hosts and Hall-of-Fame voters Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge to discuss their candidacies and what having their busts in Canton would mean to them.
For Lewis, it seems a bit of a coronation, even though he is in his first year of eligibility. A two-time Defensive Player of the Year, Super Bowl MVP and 13-time Pro Bowl selection, Lewis still faces stiff competition not only from Mawae and Bears’ middle linebacker and former Defensive Player of the Year Brian Urlacher but from the other 14 candidates, nearly all of whom are former all-decade selections.
“As a kid, you dream to make it to be one day mentioned (with pro football’s greatest players),’’ Lewis said.
Mawae, himself an all-decade selection like 14 of the 17 finalists, agreed. For him, however, the competition may be even stiffer because he’s one of five offensive linemen among the finalists, each of them an all-decade choice. In addition, the Hall selection committee has inducted only one center in the past 20 years, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Dermontti Dawson six years ago.
So how does he view this year’s vote?
“I’m no more deserving than the other guys (on the list),’’ Mawae said. “The approach I take is to enjoy the process.’’
Super Bowl Saturday can be a nerve-wracking afternoon, as Mawae learned a year ago when he reached the final 10 but failed to make the last cut. Historically that bodes well for his chances, but Mawae had one bit of advice for Lewis, Urlacher and Randy Moss, who are all first-time finalists.
“Get some food in your room,’’ Mawae told the Talk of Fame Network, explaining that a year ago he was afraid to order room service in his hotel that afternoon for fear he’d mistake that knock on his door for the one that informs the newest inductees they’ve been elected.
“We didn’t want a false knock on the door,’’ Mawae said with a laugh.
Also stopping by is Hall-of-Fame voter Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Daily News to answer questions on how the Eagles can handle Tom Brady and what the chances of election are for second-year finalist Brian Dawkins. Domowitch will present Dawkins' case to the board of selectors.
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