Manning’s teary goodbye to Indy reminds us inevitable day for Lewis is coming

March 07, 2012 | Luke Jones


But it will never quite be the same, as Baltimoreans can attest after Johnny Unitas was unceremoniously traded to the San Diego Chargers and Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken each took the diamond for the final time. Though playing in a different era than the previous three, Lewis will join a select group very soon.

Until that day comes, however, enjoy every remaining moment as much as you possibly can.

Walking the streets of Indianapolis the week of the Super Bowl and seeing hundreds of locals wearing blue No. 18 jerseys, I couldn’t help but think at the time how none of them had the slightest idea Manning was likely playing his final game with the Colts in a 17-16 playoff loss to the New York Jets to end their 2010 season. Instead, they watched an injured Manning on the sideline last season as the inevitable marinated for months. It was a slow, painful death in the metaphorical sense.

Of course, the signs are there for Lewis’ playing career rapidly coming to an end, even if you want to ignore the fact that he’ll be 37 in May. His decline was no more evident than last season as he increasingly struggled in pass coverage and recovered from a toe injury that sidelined him for four games.

Unlike the Indianapolis fans who weren’t thinking much about Manning never taking another snap for their team 13 months ago, you can see it coming with Lewis while he continues playing — secretly hoping he can go on forever. While Manning will look for a new home to conclude his career, you can only hope Lewis won’t be wearing another team’s uniform before he walks away.

It will still be terribly difficult saying goodbye to the face of the franchise. His image symbolizes the return of NFL football to Baltimore and a rekindled spirit that followed 12 years of listless Sundays in the fall.

As much as the city might not want to picture it now, watching Lewis walk to the podium will bring much more than just a temporary lump in the throat.

And no one will quite be ready for it.

5 Comments For This Post

  1. Sam Says:

    It’s too painful to even think how we’ll react that woeful day.

    Raven Nation will need a collective dose of anti-depressants that day.

  2. Cliff Says:

    It will be one sad day, because the name of Ray Lewis has come to be synonymous, with the name Baltimore Ravens. Just like the names Johnny Unitas linked to the old Colts, and Cal Ripken (and Brooks Robinson)to the “old” Baltimore Orioles.

    I can still see in my mind, Ray Lewis on the field of that cold windy day against Denver in 2000, seemingly being in every defensive play for the Ravens. My brother-in-law had dropped me off earlier on Ostend Street and commented, “you know the Ravens are underdogs and you will sitting out there freezing in vain”. I replied, “the experts are wrong! The Ravens have Ray Lewis on their team”!

    (L.J. – Well said, Cliff. It was laughable that some “experts” thought Gus Frerotte was going to lead the Broncos over the Ravens in Baltimore. They had no idea what hit them.)

  3. florida ed Says:

    Who really cares about manning, jimmy irsay, indianappolis, etc. etc. after the grave injustice that was done to BALTIMORE by stealing the BALTIMORE COLTS? Please find something better to write about.

    (L.J. – I’m guessing you didn’t read the piece considering it was about Ray Lewis. Thanks for commenting.)

  4. Marty Says:

    Seems like Peyton’s situation has everyone prematurely mourning Ray Ray’s departure, but me personally, I’ll be happy. Happy that I got to follow the career of one of (if not *THE*) greatest MLB of all time, happy that I got to witness multiple conference championships in which he starred, happy that under his leadership, our city got to experience the thrill of victory in a Super Bowl, which close to half the team in the league can’t claim. Playing at the level that he has, for as long as he has, in the same city is something to be celebrated. All good things come to an end, and I’ll be excited to see what he does and how the Ravens will carry on without #52.

    (L.J. – Well said, Marty.)

  5. florida ed Says:

    Sorry- Just got sick of the Manning boo-hooing. Ray Lewis is a great ‘Cane’ and Raven. He is fortunate to be playing in front of REAL football fans. I hope he plays forever!

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