At this moment, I am inconsolable. On Wednesday January 2, 2013 Ravens linebacker, the great Ray Lewis announced his retirement to his team and the world. Ray means a lot to the city of Baltimore, and this has been his franchise for 17 years. Baltimore IS Ray Lewis. I knew this day would come, but right now it is hard for me. As a loyal Ravens fan, I have shed many tears since this announcement from Ray. I’m going to salavate that moment he dances out of that tunnel for the last time at M&T Bank stadium.
Lewis was selected for 13 Pro Bowl teams, tabbed as an Associated Press All Pro 10 times, garnered NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors twice and was named the Super Bowl XXXV MVP after the Ravens beat the Giants.
He played more games (228) and more seasons (17) than any Ravens player in history, and also set team highs in tackles (1,573) and fumble recoveries (20). He’s second on the franchise list in interceptions (31) and forced fumbles (19) and fourth in sacks (41.5). Lewis, who has played 17 seasons for the Ravens, announced his decision to retire, telling teammates that “this will be my last ride.”
“I told them I just felt so much peace in where I am with my decision because of everything I’ve done in this league. I’ve done it, man. There’s no accolade that I don’t have individually but I’ve never played the game for individual stats. I’ve only played the game to make my team be a better team. Now, God is calling. God is calling in so many other areas of life and my children have made the ultimate sacrifice for their father, the ultimate for 17 years. Whether it’s jump on the plane, jump right back, go to school, and I don’t want to see them do no more. I’ve done what I wanted to do in this business and now, it’s my turn to give them back something. It’s either hold onto the game or keep playing or let my kids miss out on times we could be sharing together. I promised my son if he got a full-ride scholarship, Daddy was going to be there. I can’t miss that. I don’t know if I could sit in a meeting room and fight with that war.”
Lewis is the league’s longest tenured defensive player with his original team. He is a lock for the Hall of Fame, and will go down in history as the greatest middle linebacker to ever to play the game. This team has been through much adversity this season, and now it’s time to finish it off with a Superbowl for Ray Lewis, the team, and the city of Baltimore. The retirement of Ray Lewis is truly the end of an era.
“Little is expected of this Ravens squad after a discouraging end to the season. The defense is banged up and has not lived up to old standards. The offense was bad enough to get their offensive coordinator fired in December.- NFL Reporter, Gregg Rosenthal”
I promise you the Ravens will win their next four games, including the Superbowl. This team has been emotionally charged all year. Now, the emotions have taken a new turn.