Ray Lewis has already won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens and is a lock for the Hall of Fame, but the 37-year-old linebacker wouldn’t mind adding another Vince Lombardi trophy to his list of accomplishments. On Wednesday, Lewis told his teammates and coaches that if he’s going to win another ring it will have to be this year.
According to the Ravens’ official Twitter account, Lewis addressed the team and told them “this will be my last ride.” Albert Breer of NFL.com said Lewis stood in front of his team and spoke about playing for each other and the importance of your teammates before informing the “stunned” gathering that he plans to retire after the season.
In a statement released to the media, Lewis said spending time with his family is the driving force behind his decision.
“Now, God is calling,” he said. “God is calling in so many other areas of life and my children have made the ultimate sacrifice for their father, the ultimate for 17 years. Whether it’s jump on the plane, jump right back, go to school, and I don’t want to see them do no more.
“I’ve done what I wanted to do in this business and now, it’s my turn to give them back something. It’s either hold onto the game or keep playing or let my kids miss out on times we could be sharing together. I promised my son if he got a full-ride scholarship, Daddy was going to be there. I can’t miss that. I don’t know if I could sit in a meeting room and fight with that war.”
Ray Rice said that he “can’t picture Baltimore without him” and Terrell Suggs called the announcement “sad” but “amazing.”
As for whether or not he will play, Lewis would not confirm whether he is coming back or not but did say he is physically ready to take the field. He suffered a torn triceps muscle during a Week 6 win over the Dallas Cowboys but was activated in late December. The unquestioned leader of the Ravens for the past 15-plus seasons, Lewis would probably need to be put in a straight jacket to keep him from playing in his final game at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday against the Indianpolis Colts.
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