NEW ORLEANS -- Ray Lewis has been asked hundreds of questions by reporters in the days leading up to Super Bowl XLVII, but the Baltimore Ravens linebacker hasn't said much about the two men who were killed in Atlanta after Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000.
Lewis pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in the case, and the families of the two men recently criticized the defender for being touted as an icon despite his past.
Lewis finally addressed the topic during CBS' Super Bowl pregame show in a sit-down with former Ravens teammate Shannon Sharpe.
"It's simple," Lewis told Sharpe, via Yahoo! Sports, when asked what he would say to the families. "God has never made a mistake. That's just who He is, you see. And if our system -- it's the sad thing about our system -- if our system took the time to really investigate what happened 13 years ago, maybe they would have got to the bottom-line truth. But the saddest thing ever was that a man looked me in my face and told me, 'We know you didn't do this, but you're going down for it anyway.' To the family, if you knew, if you really knew the way God works, He don't use people who commits anything like that for His glory. No way. It's the total opposite."
Sharpe didn't probe much further on the topic. His only related inquiry touched on the financial settlement that Lewis reached with family members of the fallen men.
"The one thing I said that, because my name was used the wrong way, money is the last thing I'm worried about, but if money will help those kids out -- and not just those kids but any kid I can help, any family I can support, I'll support," Lewis said. "So don't just take that family and say I gave money to that family, because I've given money to thousands of families time and time again, just to find a different way to help somebody through a rough time."
Lewis remains a complex figure, partly because of the questions still surrounding that night in Atlanta. There's no debate about what Lewis has evolved into -- one of the more dynamic leaders in NFL history and someone whose influence extends far beyond the field -- but not everyone is satisfied with that image today.