Today Ray Lewis announced what many Ravens fans have been dreading for years. Effective at the end of the season, Ray Lewis will retire from the NFL. The news isn’t particularly surprising, but it is a bit scary. There has never been a Baltimore Ravens Roster without Ray Lewis on it.
We All know his accolades. 13 time probowler(officially 12 but Lewis contends 13 because he stepped aside one year because Bart Scott was the next reserve and had never seen a probowl), 10 time All Pro, Starting MLB of the 2000′s all decade team, 2 time defensive player of the year(2000, 2003), Superbowl Champion and MVP(2000), 3 time AFC defensive player of the year(2000, 2003, 2001), most games ever starter by a linebacker(227), most INT yards by a linebacker(503), Quickest to reach the 20 sack 20 INT club and the 30 sack 30 INT club and only player to ever record 40 sacks and 30 INTs(41.5, 31). I could go on and on, but every Ravens fan has been living it for the past 17 years so I don’t see much need.
Ray Lewis was never about stats. He was always about soul. Heart. Passion. Ray Lewis elevated the play of every player on the field with him. He made sure every man was ready to go fight every sunday. He made everyone in the building give him everything they had because he always gave them everything he had and more. Ray Lewis was and is, the greatest leader and motivator in sports history. period. You would be hard pressed to convince me that he is any lower than 3rd or 4th best defender of all time. I think you put the top guys in no particular order being LT, Reggie White, Lewis, Dick ‘night train’ Lane and Mike Singletary.
I won’t say goodbye to Ray Lewis yet, not until I have to. I hope I don’t have to for another month or so.