BEREA -- In a way, you can credit Youngstown for giving the Baltimore Ravens future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis.
On draft day of 1995, former Browns coach Bill Belichick traded down in the first round with the San Francisco 49ers for a first-round choice, a third-round choice and a first-round pick in the 1996 draft.
The Browns became the Baltimore Ravens in '96, and the Ravens used the first-round pick on Lewis.
The player the Browns took with their 1995 first-round pick? Ohio State linebacker Craig Powell, who played at Rayen High School in Youngstown.
Powell had an unremarkable four-year career with the Browns, Ravens and New York Jets. As for Lewis? His remarkable story continues to play out in his 15th season.
Lewis will try to haunt the Browns another time when the Ravens host them Sunday at M&T Stadium. Lewis has never given much thought to what might have been in Cleveland if Art Modell hadn't moved the Browns to Baltimore.
"From my standpoint, I was in college when all that stuff was going on," Lewis said during a conference call Wednesday. "When they finally made the transition, I never had the pleasure of being able to walk into Cleveland Stadium and play for the Browns. I was a Raven from day one, and that's always been my focus. Your heart goes out to those people (in Cleveland), but for me I had to go on and write a new chapter."
It's one of the many stories of frustration for Browns fans involving the move to Baltimore. The Ravens won the Super Bowl four years later and have generally made life miserable for the Browns in owning a 15-7 series record.
Lewis has been in the middle of it all, as he is in every game in which he plays. Amazingly, Lewis might be getting better at age 35, which begs the question: will you play longer than Brett Favre?
"No way," he said. "I have a lot of other things I have to do business-wise, and I have a lot of things chasing my kids' future as well. The bottom line is, as long as it burns inside of me I'm going to keep going. As long as I'm productive and at the top of my game, I'm always going to keep playing.
"One thing about this business. Once you're done with this business, realistically you can come back if you're a year or so removed, but if you're three or four years out, there are no comebacks. Get it all out of your system, and when you're done, you're done."
No one can argue the point that Lewis is one of the most intimidating linebackers in NFL history. While other great linebackers may have had a trademark way of striking fear into opponents (Mike Singletary had a maniacal stare), Lewis does it with his actions.
"I don't try to intimidate anybody, other than simply getting to the ball," he said. "Every time they look up, and they see it's just me. The bottom line is if you get a running back to look up a number of times, he realizes who the person is who keeps hitting him. As long as you have that respect, you'll have the intimidation that you'll need."
Lewis gets sensitive when asked about his age and if he lacks the intimidation factor he's had throughout his career.
"Even with these young guys you have coming in and owners pay them all this money for not doing anything, which I understand the business, but you see all these old vets putting up legendary Hall of Fame numbers and you disrespect them at the end of their careers," he said. "I don't understand how you can be on the downside with a resume that long.
"When people try to compare these young kids to us, there's no comparison. You trying to tell a 19- or 20-year-old kid to run into me at full speed. That's why I always tell people to be careful what you ask for. People would rather play a younger Ray Lewis than an older Ray Lewis. An older Ray Lewis is much wiser."
That's a scary thought.