Ray Lewis And Reed Were Tragically Flop For The Ravens

How Ray Lewis and Ed Reed Were Almost Not Drafted by the Ravens

No player embodied the Raven spirit more than Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, yet it’s startling how near the two Hall of Famers were to leaving the team.

While General Manager Eric DeCosta revealed on “The Ryan Ripken Show” that the Ravens “had to settle” for Reed in the 2002 draft after the player they really wanted went one spot before they were on the clock, former Packers executive Eliot Wolf related the tale on “The Adam Schefter Podcast” about how Green Bay was prepared to take Lewis in the 1996 draft.

The de facto general manager of the New England Patriots, Wolf, remembered being in the war room of the Packers when they believed they were going to choose Lewis with the 27th overall choice, only to have the Ravens select the middle linebacker at No. 26.

“[The Packers] actually had Ray on the phone,” Wolf stated. “They were talking to Ray and Baltimore was still on the clock.”

Lewis would not be performing the “Squirrel Dance” at Lambeau Field in front of a crowd of cheeseheads if the Packers had not made a deal to gain an advantage over the Ravens.

After Lewis left, offensive lineman John Michels was drafted by Green Bay; however, he would only play for two seasons before his career was cut short by a knee injury.

Ray Lewis was on the phone with the Packers in 1996 as they were prepared to choose him with the 27th overall pick. But the Ravens selected Lewis at No. 26 just before they had a chance. That day, and to this day, Eliot Wolf, the de facto general manager of the Patriots, was present in the Packers war room.

With the 24th overall pick in 2002, the Ravens targeted linebacker Napoleon Harris; however, the Raiders selected him at No. 23.

“It was quiet and painful in our draft room, because we were going to get the 17th-best player on our board,” Decosta said. “A safety from Miami who is small and a step slow—the 24th-best player in the draft—will have to do for now. To cut a long tale short, where is Hall of Famer Napoleon Harris these days? Nobody is aware. And it takes place. That is the draft’s character.”

Despite playing for three clubs over the course of seven seasons and starting 73 games, Harris was never selected to the Pro Bowl. Well, and Harris is currently a member of the Illinois State Senate.

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