KEEPING A PROMISE TO HIS SON
The standing joke among those of us who cover the Ravens was this: “When Ray Lewis calls it quits, he’s not walking out of that stadium. The Ravens are going to have scrape him off the field with a spatula.”
We’ve said that over the years because everyone who has ever been around him knows how much Ray Lewis loves life in the NFL.
He loves football. He loves the Ravens. And he loves Baltimore.
Getting him to call it quits would be tough.
But like he did when he was a late signee at Miami, or when he was “too small” to be a big-time linebacker in the NFL, Ray proved everyone wrong again when he calmly announced his intentions to retire on Wednesday.
He stood at the podium and explained himself in a logical, well-planned manner. He was emotional, as always, but not overly so, like one would have expected.
Ray was at peace on Wednesday.
And it turns out that spatula won’t be needed after all.
Ray Lewis is going out like a champion, on his own terms, at his own pace, by his own designs. And he’s doing it for his son, Ray Jr., who starts next fall at the University of Miami after a successful high school football career in Florida.
“I told (Ray) Junior two years ago…if you get a scholarship to play college football, I promise that your Dad will be there with you on the sideline every Saturday. I’m going to do that journey with you.”
And that, the love of a son, will end the Hall of Fame career of Ray Lewis.
I can’t think of a better way for him to go out.
It would have been easy for Ray to say to his son, “Look, I know I told you I’d be there for you, and I will be. But Daddy has some unfinished business to take care of. I have a championship to win. I need to get back to Baltimore in 2013 and give it one last shot and then I’ll be there for you after that.”
His son might have understood that. His dad, after all, is a Hall of Fame football player.
But Ray Lewis made a promise to his son two years ago and on Wednesday in Baltimore, he kept it.
As a father myself, I’ve been taught a great lesson by Ray Lewis and it had nothing at all to do with football.
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