In 1992 The Pittsburgh Steelers were in search of an up and coming coach to lead their linebacking core and turned to a local guy who was coaching at the University of Pittsburgh by the name of Marvin Lewis. That same year they gave him a shiny new weapon by selecting Levon Kirkland with the 38th overall selection in that year’s draft to replace the aging veteran David Little.
Kirkland would go on to become a multi-Pro Bowler, multi All-Pro, multi team MVP, and eventually named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team. Lewis would turn his success as a positional coach into a coordinator job with the division rival Baltimore Ravens in 1996.
The newly christened Ravens had just relocated to Baltimore after years of losing seasons as the Cleveland Browns. In that year’s draft the Ravens were in line to give Marvin another weapon to play with and selected Ray Lewis with the 26th selection of the draft. Once again Marvin and his weapon flourished eventually winning the Super Bowl in 2000.
After a few years of being turned down for head coaching positions and a one year stop as the defensive coordinator in Washington Marvin Lewis was named the 9th head coach in the history of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2003.
That year the Bengals decided to follow the trend and give Marvin a new guy to man the middle linebacker position by signing former Pro Bowler Kevin Hardy in free agency. After two mediocre seasons in Cincinnati Hardy retired from the NFL after the 2004 season. Forcing the Bengals to look elsewhere. In that year’s draft they selected David Pollack with the 17th selection and later selected Odell Thurman with the 38th pick.