Ray Lewis: NFL lost a visionary in Steve Sabol

Owners, coaches and players who knew Steve Sabol, who died Tuesday at the age of 69 after an 18-month battle with brain cancer, raved about the NFL Films president’s ingenuity and integrity.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who is the subject of NFL Films’ “A Football Life: Ray Lewis” airing at 8 p.m. ET Wednesday on NFL Network, told “NFL AM” Wednesday morning that his trust in Sabol was what drove him to allow cameras to follow him for a year.

“You can have reservations if you have anything to hide or if you don’t trust the people you are working with,” Lewis said. “I had worked with those guys for so many years and I knew Steve and them had a great vision for what they really wanted to accomplish so when they asked me to do it I was overwhelmed and was humbled to go in ‘A Football Life’ right after Bill Belichick.”

Lewis said Sabol was one of the visionaries who helped make the NFL the league and business it has become.

“I think young kids in this business … really need to understand the impact that Steve Sabol had,” he said. “We lost a great pioneer a few days ago with Art Modell and now lose another one. These men had a vision to do something great. The beautiful thing about what they were doing is it wasn’t for them, they had a vision to expand our league to expand our game and to expand our brand.

“You will not be able to mention the NFL, NFL Films, without Steve Sabol’s name. He was one of those people that we have to learn from we have to research what spoke to him what pushed him to the edge,” Lewis said.

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