His knowledge and experience are unmatched, but even that won’t be enough eventually.
The sides could also agree to a reworked contract with a reduced salary, but that isn’t a guarantee with a player as prideful as Lewis. As some point, the business side of the game always comes into play as we learned with the likes of Derrick Mason and Todd Heap and Jarret Johnson moving on in recent seasons.
Of course, none of those players enjoyed a stature even approaching the throne on which Lewis sits in Baltimore.
Regardless of what the future holds for one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history, you have to feel for Lewis, who shed weight this season in hopes of becoming faster to improve his pass coverage against tight ends and running backs. His enthusiasm for the game appeared as strong as ever, but now he and cornerback Lardarius Webb won’t see months of offseason preparation pay off with a full season of play.
“I’m disappointed for those guys,” Harbaugh said. “It doesn’t matter how I or someone else feels about it. It’s their thing. These are guys that put so much effort, heart, and soul in what they do.”
No one has put more soul into the game than Lewis, but you wonder if his body, age, and price tag will continue to make it feasible for the Ravens to keep him around for another season.
As I wrote earlier this year when Indianapolis bid farewell to longtime quarterback Peyton Manning, nothing lasts forever, even when you don’t want to think or talk about it.
And as painful and unfair as Sunday’s injury may have been for the player who’s synonymous with the Baltimore Ravens, it also may have marked the sad end of an incredible run.