S/LB Anthony Levine is a bully–to himself.
He pushes himself to excellence on the field.
He pushes himself to character development and leadership off of the field.
And now, having signed a fresh 3-year contract to extend his time with the Ravens, Levine told Cover32/RAVENS that he’s only planning on pushing himself even more. “I feel like my role has to step up, and I have to be more of a leader. More of a vocal leader and an action leader. I’ve gotta go out there and talk to the guys so they know what’s going on, and I’ve got to go out there and show the guys, ‘This is how it’s done, this is how we do it, and this is how you Play Like a Raven.'”
As Levine told us last Fall, everyone is a leader in their own right. But entering his 8th season in the NFL, 6th with the Ravens, and wielding 2 Super Bowl rings (Green Bay – 2010) truly establishes him as not a flash in the pan, and not a passing fancy, but a grounded veteran.
Especially in light of many changes in the Ravens roster this offseason, and even more to come, Levine recognizes that there are holes to fill. One is, apparently, S LArdarius Webb,
who tweeted a goodbye to Ravens fans recently. “I call him my big brother,” Levine reflected. “He helped mentor me. Me and him were among the closest friends on the team. We always hung out together. Every time we were on away games, our seats were right next to each other, our rooms were right next to each other. He’s my guy, man. It’s going to be different, I’m going to miss him. It’s going to be different.”
Another loss is Secondary Coach Leslie Frazier, who signed with Buffalo as their Defensive Coordinator. “That’s a huge loss. That’s Papa Frazier. He was a great coach, more of a father figure to me. Just an all-around wonderful man. That’s a tough loss.” Levine shared not only the field of football with the revered coach, but a faith. “Every day we’d have a conversation (about faith). That’s one thing that got me and him real close. He was helping me grow more close (to God) and strong in my Walk.”
Never to remain idle or without a plan, the Ravens have been active to replace some of these
losses and continue to do so. Safety Tony Jefferson was recently signed after a stellar season with the Arizona Cardinals and was a top-5 rated safety according to Pro Football Focus. About the great-looking safety tandem, Levine said, “Whatever is best for the team. I know one thing for sure: The Great Eric Weddle, as I call him, makes all of us great. And Jefferson, I haven’t met him yet, but I have seen some of the plays he made, and he’s good.” Levine added, “If he’s going to come in and help us win, help us go where we’ve got to go, then I’m all for it.”
Levine has also given thought to what he will say to rookies and newcomers. He has seen the gamut of scenarios as an NFL player, from practice squad years, to position changes, to being a captain, and he feels ready to share some of this wisdom. “Stay focused. Stay focused on all of your aspirations and goals. Don’t get focused on who’s ahead of you, don’t get focused on who is behind you. You’re really competing with yourself. The only person that can beat me is me. If I don’t work out, I beat myself. If I don’t push myself, I beat myself. Everyday there are men who are going to compete with you. I always go out there and compete with myself. Compete with yourself, don’t get all into the numbers.”
Inherent in his self-motivation, his self-push, is his noticeable willingness to play wherever needed. “If anybody goes down, they can call on me, ” he exclaimed. “I mean, God forbid that something would happen to my teammates, but if I had to go in at corner, nickel, safety, linebacker….defensive end…whatever, I’m with it!”
Even his self-identity, position-wise, is open. “This year, going forward, I don’t know how things will work out. I guess when I get back in April, I’ll find out what the path will be; whether they want me focused on secondary, or if I’ll do both, I’ll find out in April.” Levine did admit that he’d love playing at corner, but maintained that he will play anywhere needed.
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“We’re very close. The way the year ended, we didn’t want that. Now everyone knows what we have to do. I just feel like, that one yard, I always think about that. They keep showing it on TV too [laughter]. But we’ve got some guys coming in, we’ve got some new strength and conditioning program going on, we’ve got a lot of things helping us.”
“I feel like it’s going to be a great year.”
According to #41, Ravens fans can bank on him being there, doing whatever it takes to help lead the way to that greatness.