This season will mark the first time in Ray Lewis' ca..."/> This season will mark the first time in Ray Lewis' ca..."/> This season will mark the first time in Ray Lewis' ca..."/>

Ravens, Ray Lewis Working on New Deal

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This season will mark the first time in Ray Lewis’ career that he has ever reached the final year of a contract without an extension. Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti wants to make sure that its the last. At annual owner’s meetings, Bisciotti made no effort to hide his desire to keep Lewis in Baltimore for the duration of his career, saying that negotiations are ongoing between the All-Pro linebacker and emotional leader of the team.

“If he becomes a free agent next year, I think the Ravens would probably outbid other teams,” Bisciotti said yesterday during a break at the NFL annual meetings.

“We know Ray’s value more than the other teams. We know the leadership he brings to the team. We know the commitment and the effort he gives to winning.”

It’s widely acknowledged that the 32-year-old Lewis has lost a step over the duration of his career, but it’s not clear whether injuries, which have caused him to miss 15 games over the past four years, were the determining factor. Also in play is Lewis’ relationship with teammates and coaches, which from insider sources, may be turning tenuous to say the least.

Here’s what you know about Ray. He brings national relevance to a franchise that even in great times, earns very little recognition in national media. He’s a community institution, and it looks better to make him a Raven for life as quickly as possible, then to drag it out and have players and fans decry the move. He’s earned it, and with new systems and faces coming in, a big commitment to your franchise cornerstone makes it all come together.