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CNN Today

Super Bowl XXXV: Media Attention Settles on Baltimore Ravens Linebacker Ray Lewis

Aired January 24, 2001 - 1:42 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: As those folks in California all go to each other's houses to watch the Super Bowl to conserve electricity, they do continue preparing for the game down in Florida.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, it takes a whole week to prepare because media has to converge at the site of the Super Bowl and ask every stupid question in the book.

New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens are fielding the questions, and John Giannone of CNN/Sports Illustrated joins us from Tampa.

Have any good questions to form this year, John?

JOHN GIANNONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I've heard, actually, Lou, a couple questions about the adult establishments in this town. Those questions have been asked; nothing about what tree would you be if you could be a tree yet (OFF-MIKE).

(LAUGHTER)

But I will say this. A lot of focus and attention since the Ravens arrived here on Monday has been on all-pro linebacker Ray Lewis, who is also the NFL's defensive player of the year, but also a man who has had a tumultuous year since his arrest on murder charges following two killings outside a nightclub on Super Bowl night last year.

Now, Lewis descended on Media Day yesterday. He was peppered with countless questions about the aftermath, the circumstances and his life in that last year. He refused to answer all of them, calling it either irrelevant or a closed chapter in his life.

A little while ago, though, we found out it is neither. This time it didn't come from Ray Lewis, it came from his friend and teammate Shannon Sharpe.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SHANNON SHARPE, BALTIMORE RAVENS: There's always an asterisk by it. Yes, he's the player of the year, but look what happened last off-season. Oh, he's on the No. 1 defense in the NFL, but look what happened last year. Why can't we just -- you all just can't move on? Just give him his credit. He's been exonerated of all charges -- all charges.

You don't -- listen, if they thought they had something on this man, you don't plea with a man that you think committed double murder. I can assure you. Did they do that with Rae Carruth? Did they plea anything? You don't plea to a man with that. And all he had to do was, what? $100 court cost -- in court costs. That's all he had to pay. They plead this man because you know why? They know they didn't have a case. They knew they had made a mistake, but they could not come out and say it publicly that they'd made a mistake. They made a terrible judgment in error. That's what they did.

And now we have the best player in the league and all you all want to talk about -- I have not -- when you talk to this man, not one time have you mentioned anything about the Giants in the Super Bowl or the Ravens in the Super Bowl. Well, Ray, what was it like when you were in jail? Ray, what was it like? What the hell do you think it was like? The man was fighting for his life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GIANNONE: Now, while Sharpe expressed strong words and stronger emotions, Lewis concentrated solely on football. But his words raised some eyebrows as well. Lewis said that he believes his Ravens offense needs to score only 7 points to win the Super Bowl. In fact, Lewis said he wants his defense to think that they are going to shut out the Giants on Sunday. And that is significant because there's never been a shutout in Super Bowl history -- Lou and Natalie.

WATERS: OK, John Giannone.

ALLEN: All right, John. Ask the questions to keep everybody happy, I guess.

WATERS: John's got a tough assignment, doesn't he. Sorry John, you have to go to Tampa to cover the Super Bowl.

ALLEN: And the weather looks so awful there too, doesn't it?

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