Hard to admit: Maybe Ray was right…

March 01, 2009 | Drew Forrester

I can’t believe I’m going to say this but maybe, MAYBE, Ray Lewis had it right all along.

During Super Bowl week, Lewis was commenting on his future, his free agency and the issues surrounding his possible return to Baltimore – and he said, “What I’m thinking is nobody’s business.  Where I’m going is nobody’s business.  What I think about the situation is nobody’s business.”

I’ve said from the outset – after hearing him talk with Nestor and I (check out the WNSTv vids for yourself) and watching his interviews on NFL Network – that Ray was going about it all wrong.  Here’s the blog I wrote that covered those “early thoughts” of mine.

I said (and wrote) that stuff because I assumed Ray wanted to curry favor with the hometown faithful and, more importantly, to squarely put the heat on the Ravens in the re-sign Ray episode.

Instead, Ray has created tension with the fanbase and the Ravens are still sitting pretty…or, as pretty as a team can sit after losing out on two of their best three free agents.

So, on the whole, I’m still claiming that Ray went about all of this wrong.

However – and if this looks like I’m defending Ray, I guess I am:

Ray might have actually been right all along.

His situation and the negotiations aren’t “our” business.  Ozzie Newsome utilizes a similar philosophy. When’s the last time Ozzie commented on a specific negotiation while it was ongoing?  Rarely, if ever, will “Oz” make a statement or comment unless he’s just offering a generality like, “we’re in negotiations” or “we always have an interest in signing players who can help our football team.”

Ray should have taken a page out of Ozzie’s book and just not said anything.

Everything he’s said over the month has been scrutinized, poured over and broken down like a CSI show. When he speaks, people say, “Ray should just shut up.”  When he doesn’t speak, people say, “Ray should be going public and defending himself.”  When he finally steps forward and elaborates on the issues surrounding his contract situation, folks respond with: “Now he’s just trying to cover his tracks.”

The guy can’t win no matter what he says – or doesn’t say.

I said from the beginning Ray was doing it wrong by not speaking out.  Ray claimed it wasn’t anyone’s business what he was thinking — therefore, saying nothing was, essentially, an indication he was adhering to that philosophy.

It’s just a shame he didn’t follow that philosophy, I guess.

It really ISN’T anyone’s business what Ray Lewis is thinking.  He’s done more than enough to justify his career in Charm City.  He owes nothing to no one.  Likewise, the team – although they’d be better off keeping him than letting him get away – doesn’t really owe him anything either.  They’ve both done right by one another.

It really ISN’T anyone’s business if Ray Lewis wants to pull the curtains on his career in Baltimore and escape for a 3-year bank heist with the (insert team here).  As we just saw with Bart Scott and Jason Brown, you can’t pay the BGE bill with good looks.  They both bolted for a better life and they’re not getting a lot of grief for doing so.  Nor should they.

And, finally, while Ray’s legacy in Baltimore might be important to US – or the team – it just might not be that important to Ray.  In 52’s mind, maybe this has been nothing more than a 13-year vacation of sorts. As all of us know, no matter how much fun you have on vacation, they all come to an end.  Perhaps it was always Ray’s intention to play in the NFL and then retire in Somewhereville, Florida, basking in the glow of the warm sun AND a Hall of Fame football career for the second half of his life.

The first-half chapter, though, looks like it’s going to take an ugly turn in Baltimore no matter what happens with Ray’s contract.  If he signs in Baltimore, the faithful will criticize the Ravens for “caving in”.  If he goes elsewhere, the faithful will whisk him out the same way they did with Eddie Murray some 20-odd years ago…with little regard for what he did and a bunch of broom marks on his rear end.

Far be it for a guy in the media who NEEDS athletes to talk to admit it might have been better if the athlete didn’t speak, but Ray might have been right.

He probably shouldn’t have said a word.

To anyone.

He probably shouldn’t have talked to Deion and Jamie Dukes on the NFL Network.

He probably shouldn’t have talked to WNST.

He DEFINITELY shouldn’t have talked to DeMarcus Ware, if he did.

Who knows if he did?  Why should we believe DeMarcus Ware?  I don’t know him from Adam.

For all we know, Ray Lewis never had a conversation with DeMarcus Ware.

Or, they might have had dinner in Dallas last summer.

Who knows?

Because Ray has a history of being evasive, particularly when things AREN’T going well, it’s tough to gauge the validity of ANY story that comes out about him.

Sometimes, it’s even tough to believe Ray when he DOES author the quote or story.

Did Ray really tell “a friend” he was DONE in Baltimore?  Was that friend Rod Woodson? Or Deion Sanders?

Who knows – and – who knows…?

It’s been one snafu after another in this “campaign” that’s been produced and directed by Ray Lewis.

His agent, or the person responsible for guiding him along in this process, should give back his paycheck on this one.

And Ray, for all the mistakes he’s made over the last month, probably had it right from the very beginning.

He would have been FAR, FAR better to just maintain that “it’s nobody’s business” line all the way through.

He should have said that to Deion, Rod, Jamie, DeMarcus and anyone else who asked him the big question.

“It’s none of your business.”

When you can’t figure out how to say it the right way, I think that’s the best way to avoid having to talk about it.

In Ray’s case, hindsight being what it is, he would have been better off not talking about it at all.

The fans wouldn’t have understood, but they’re not understanding THIS approach by Ray, either.

Neither are the Ravens, I assume.

No one is, in fact.