Ray Lewis says Sunday will be his last trip through tunnel in Baltimore

January 02, 2013 | Nestor Aparicio

Ray Lewis says Sunday will be his last trip through tunnel in Baltimore

He couldn’t play forever. Of course, after watching him roam the defense for Baltimore Ravens as the spiritual and physical leader for 17 years, many of us wouldn’t have bet against Ray Lewis playing into his 40′s.

Today, in a not surprising but somehow still strangely shocking announcement, Lewis told the media that he had just informed his teammates he’s walking away from the NFL at the conclusion of this Super Bowl drive. Several times during his media session, Lewis had to stop and control his emotions. Ray Rice followed him to the podium and welled up twice.

The reaction from his teammates was a mix of pressure, emotions and the reality that no one wants to be the reason Ray Lewis ends his career without another championship.

I wrote about the life and times of Ray Lewis two seasons ago in a three-part series.

Part 1: Is it Safe to Say The Ghost of Ray Lewis Has Passed?

Part 2: Celebrating The Ray Of Today

Part 3: Will Ray Lewis be a “ray of light” in the future?

Obviously, this announcement will take months — and maybe years — to digest for the Baltimore Ravens and everyone in the organization and the city.

There will be statues. There will be Hall of Fame ballots. There will be a bronze bust in Canton in five years. There will be “Thank You Ray” days and a Ring of Honor enshrinement.

So, for a few hours today, everyone will share a Ray Lewis memory.

But the fact remains that Lewis’ former defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano will be bringing the upstart Indianapolis Colts into Baltimore on Sunday and suddenly it could be No. 52′s final hours in an NFL uniform.

Ray Rice had a hard time internalizing that and had to choke back tears on Sunday.

Chance are, he won’t be the only one.

One more reason the Baltimore Ravens need to win on Sunday and continue this now-final drive to get Ray Lewis another chance to dance with the Lombardi Trophy before he rides into the purple sunset.

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Unitastoberry Says:

    Pure class. Put up the statue.

  2. The Armchair QB Says:

    All good things must come to an end, but that doesn’t diminish the saddness of the end to the Ray Lewis era! I’ve been priviliged over the years to watch some of the all time greats perform, but few match the intensity, the passion, the commitment, the dedication and professionalism of this “world class” football player! Words cannot express the overwhelming sense of loss that his departure from the game will mean, so all I can say is……thanks for the memories, Ray! You will be…..missed!

  3. troy Says:

    What a delight Ray Lewis has been to this team & city! Great man!

  4. jpetrosino Says:

    Has any asked Ray if he wants a job as the Raven’s linebackers coach next season? That would be a great way for him to extend his legacy.

  5. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    Ray, it’s been fantastic watching your performance over 17 years. The best there ever was, good luck and thanks for the memories !!!

  6. Robert Canady Says:

    Nestor, a phenominal look at a very complex man. That is the word that comes to very easily about him as well.

    When I saw 3 links totalling 27 pages, I thought there is no way I have the time to read this. I read every word, every page. It was an extremel well done indepth look at perhaps the most polarizing figure in the history of Baltimore sports.

    Thanks for sharing it.

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