This Sunday’s battle with the Giants could be the game Ravens fans have been dreading for a long time.
Depending on what happens in Baltimore – and Pittsburgh – this weekend and next, there’s a chance you’ll be watching Ray Lewis and Ed Reed both play their final home game ever as members of the Ravens.
Go ahead and read that sentence again and let it sink in.
When you settle in your seats at 4:25 pm this Sunday, it could be the final time you see Reed and Lewis in purple.
Ray, of course, might not even play in the game as he continues to nurse an upper arm injury. Reed, no doubt, will be on the field as the Ravens look to sew up their second straight AFC North title. But if the two do suit up and play and things don’t go Baltimore’s way over the next three weekends of football, Sunday could be the end of two amazing runs for those sure-fire-Hall-of-Famers.
A month ago, it looked like the Ravens would be guaranteed at least one home post-season game. Now, it’s far from a certainty. John Harbaugh’s team could still finish as high as the 3rd seed (by finishing tied with New England) or they could drop all the way down to the 6th seed (by finishing at 9-7 and tied with the Bengals and Steelers and with Indy winning one of their last two). If Baltimore finishes as the 6th seed, they’d play away on the first weekened of the post-season and who knows what happens from there.
That makes this Sunday, potentially, the final home game of the 2012 season.
And that also means it could be the final home game in the career of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
Reed is without a contract for 2013 and it would appear, for the first time ever, that the Ravens are in position to seriously consider whether or not he could be useful in the future. My guess, just based on a couple of conversations I’ve had with folks in the know at Owings Mills, is that the Ravens will not pursue a new deal with Reed. Lewis has a contract for 2013 but there’s definitely a chance that Ozzie Newsome will bring Ray in for “the talk” and try to explain to him that his days as a full-time player – in Baltimore, at least – have come to an end. Giving Lewis the respect he deserves, my guess is the Ravens would then allow him to contact teams and make his best deal for 2013 — which would include the Ravens getting a courtesy 5th round draft pick or something like that.
Ray could, of course, simply say, “It’s been a helluva run…I’m not going to finish in another uniform. I’ll just ride off into the sunset like the champion I am.”
I’m certainly not saying this Sunday is, without question, the final home game in the career of those two.
I am saying, though, that it COULD be.
I’ve never said that before.
Or even thought that before, honestly.
But it’s the truth, as staggering as it might seem.
I sure hope this Sunday isn’t the final time we get to see No. 52 and/or No. 20 in purple. If it is, though, it’s been one helluva run for those two.
In fact, we’ll
probably never see anything like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed again.