Ray Lewis discusses lockout issues

Updated: May 25, 2011, 11:19 AM ET
ESPN.com

One of the consequences of a lost NFL season will be an increase in crime, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said in a wide-raging one-on-one interview with ESPN.

Lewis Do this research if we don't have a season -- watch how much evil, which we call crime, watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game.

-- Ray Lewis

"Do this research if we don't have a season -- watch how much evil, which we call crime, watch how much crime picks up, if you take away our game," Lewis told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio.

That's because, Lewis said, the NFL lockout affects "way more than us" -- the owners and the players.

"There's too many people that live through us, people live through us," he said. "Yeah, walk in the streets, the way I walk the streets, and I'm not talking about the people you see all the time."

When asked why he thought crime would increase if the NFL doesn't play games this year, Lewis said: "There's nothing else to do Sal."

Sunday is Day 68 of the lockout, which is now the longest work stoppage in NFL history. Lewis said the current dispute boils down to a matter of ego.

"It's simple, we really got to remove pride. Seriously," he said.

"There's no other reason the issue is going on," he said. "That's why I don't get into words and all that other stuff, because it takes away from life ... itself. There's people who are really struggling for real. There's real struggles out there."

A 2-1 decision last week by the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals kept the lockout in place pending a full appeal. A hearing is scheduled for June 3 in St. Louis.

Lewis hasn't attended any of the mediation sessions between the owners and players and hasn't gone to court for any of the legal proceedings -- but that might change.

"I'm not opposed to it," he said.

He also said he has texted NFL Players Association leader DeMaurice Smith.

"Tell me when you're ready for me to come speak," Lewis said when asked to explain the nature of the texts to Smith. "Because I'm not speaking about all, oh I want this, I want that."

When does Smith want Lewis to speak?

"Oh ... the time coming," Lewis said and then smiled for emphasis.

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