Friday, February 7, 2014

Conversation with Baltimore Ravens Anthony Levine

Baltimore Ravens defensive back Anthony Levine has always been a great example of the phrase: Good things come to those who wait.

In high school, he was easily one of the premier athletes in high school sports. But he wasn't getting scholarship offers or attention like most expected. Days after signing with Tennessee State University on national signing day, he was offered a scholarship from the University of North Carolina.

But Levine decided to stick with TSU, and make the best out of his situation. He ended up having a great college career. Yet, he didn't hear or read his name on draft day in 2010. Levine was eventually signed by the Green Bay Packers, where he was a member of their Super Bowl team that year.

He's now entering his third year with the Baltimore Ravens, and is ready to take his career to another level.
Levine expects to do big things for Ravens next season.

I spoke with the rising defensive back earlier this week to talk about a few things. Levine and I talked about Richard Sherman, the CIAA, fatherhood, and a few other things during a phone conversation. Take a look at some of the things we discussed.
Anthony:  (Smiles) My dude.
Levine:  Hello.
Anthony:  Levine, what's up my boy. Can you hear me?
Levine:  Yeah, what's up man. How you doing?
Anthony:  I can't call it. Just trying to make it, brother. What's up with you, though?
Levine:  Ay, I'm just trying to be like you when I grow up. (Both laugh) That's all.
Anthony:  I hear that. (Laughs.) Give me your thoughts on the Super Bowl that just past. I am sure you were watching that game with some interest.
Levine was college teammates with Broncos DB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Levine:  No doubt. Man, that game was crazy. I mean, I figured Seattle was going to take it because of the way them boys play defense.  But I wanted Denver to win because my homeboy, Dominique (Rodgers-Cromartie) plays with them. So, I was definitely hoping he would get another championship. But it wasn't meant to me, and Seattle wasn't playing out there.

Anthony:  No doubt. A  lot of attention has been on their cornerback Richard Sherman. He said he was the best DB in the league. Is he the best defensive back in the league right now.
Levine: No. He's good, but he's not the best. I can name three right now that are better than Sherman. I'm not taking anything away from the dude. But he's not the best.
Anthony:  Name three better than him.
Levine:  Dee (Darrelle) Revis,  Cromartie. I'm talking Dominique. And, I'll go with Asanti Samuels and a few other guys. Sherman is not the best right now.

Anthony:  I got you. So, what can we expect from Levine? Are big things in store for next season?
Levine: Definitely, man. We 'bout to turn it up a lil bit. 'Bout to get into Levine 2.0. Ya feel me? I talk to coach (Derrick) Speas almost every single day. He keeps me right. He's gonna have me right when he returns from Russia. You know he's over there with the Olympic speed skating team right now.
Anthony: I spoke with Speas before he left. (Note: Derrick Speas is a local trainer/ coach based out of Winston-Salem, NC. Speas trains and mentors Levine)
Levine:  Yeah, so we about to turn it up. I'm expecting big things for next year. I'm working to be a starter and a solid contributor. Plus, this is a contract year coming up for me. I need to put myself in the best position to maximize my contract.

Anthony:  I feel you. What's new?
Levine:  I'm a dad. That's new.
Anthony:  I didn't know that. Congrats my dude.
Levine:  Yeah, it's crazy how excited I am about being a dad. I love my little dude. I can't wait to go get him from school. I gotta be there by 4. Just watching him grow. He's 19 months now. (Laughs) I think I'm ready for a little girl right now too.
Here, Levine works with kids during a clinic.
Anthony:  (Both laugh)  I hear you. Hey, the CIAA tournament is coming back to Charlotte. You trying to kick it again this year?
Levine:  (Laughs) Nah, man. I'm not gonna be able to make it this year. I did the Super Bowl. We kicked it hard out there. Imma head to New Orleans for all-star weekend. I'm not gonna be able to make it to the CIAA this year.

Anthony:  When was the last time you hit up Winston-Salem?
Levine:  I was just there last week.
Anthony:  Cool.
Levine:  Ay, what happen to your Crimson Tide in the bowl game?
Anthony:  Come on, man. I can't believe you brought that up. We weren't really interested in playing that game. The guys were disappointed to not be playing in the national championship game.
Here's a shot of Levine during recent practice.
Levine:  How can a former football player say something like that? You're supposed to have an attitude like, "We gonna beat their (Oklahoma) a$$ so bad ya'll gonna question why not playing for a title." That's how they should've went out 'der. A football player does not go into any game not wanting to win. I don't care what you're playing for, bruh.

Anthony:  (Smiles.)  You're right, man. I was just making excuses. We just got beat. But we'll be back next year. Roll Tide. (Both laugh.) Let's finish up with some free association. Uh, Anthony Levine.
Levine:  Great player. Expecting to do big things for Ravens this year.
Anthony: Charlotte, NC.
Levine:  (Smiles) The Queen City.
Levine shows A. Jackson love.
Anthony:  R.J. Reynolds High.
Levine:  Memories. Great school. Where it all started for me. Track state champions.
Anthony:  Archie Barrow. (Reynolds teammate/ former Johnson C. Smith standout)
Levine:  Great athlete. Friend.

Anthony:  We're done my dude. Thanks for the time, bro.
Levine:  You know it's no problem, Ant. We go way back. Hit me up anytime.