Ravens: “We still want Ray in Baltimore”

February 24, 2009 | Drew Forrester

It’s Tuesday, Day 2 of “Ray Week”, and while emotions are running high in the city as gobs of 52-backers give him the proverbial boot out of town, the team that Ray Lewis has played for since 1996 isn’t as quick to jettison their Hall of Famer.

A pair of Ravens sources told me essentially the same thing yesterday.  The team is still very hopeful of re-signing Ray Lewis, either before this Friday at 12:01 am when free agency begins or at some point thereafter when Ray sees the value in returning to Baltimore for 2009 and beyond. 

“We’ve seen all the stories out there including the DeMarcus Ware stuff,” a team source said.  “Our position hasn’t changed.  We’re trying to sign Ray.  We want Ray in Baltimore.  We’ve said that from the beginning and we’re still hopeful it happens.”

Another club source says the events of the last week or so are to be expected any time a prominent player approaches free agency.  “There are always stories or issues floating around whenever a Pro Bowl player is available on the open market.   Sometimes, those stories are created by the media, or the player, or his agent or, perhaps, even a team that might or might NOT want him.  In this whole thing, the only comments and words that truly matter are the ones that take place between Ozzie and either Ray himself or Ray’s agent.  Nothing else gets in the way of negotiations with Ozzie, which is why he’s one of the best in the business.”

Day 2 of “Ray Week” rolls on.

Unlike the player, who refuses to admit publicly that he wants to finish his career in Baltimore by signing a new deal with the Ravens, the team is openly discussing the situation and admitting, still, that it’s their hope Ray remains in Baltimore.

As it’s been for a while now, the ball remains in Ray’s court.