Ray Lewis to retire at end of playoffs
If any one player has defined the Ravens for the last 20 years, it has been linebacker Ray Lewis. The 37-year-old, now regarded as one of the best linebackers to every play the game, began his career with the Ravens after being drafted out of the University of Miami in 1996. He will forever remain a Raven when he ends his NFL playing career at the end of this year’s playoffs.
On Thursday, the Ravens announced that Lewis told teammates in a meeting, “this will be my last ride.”
Lewis has missed the last two months due to a torn triceps, but he is expected to play Sunday when the Ravens take on the Colts in the wild card playoff game.
After speaking with his teammates Thursday, Lewis met with the media and told them his family is a big reason as to why he is choosing to retire now.
“It’s either hold onto the game or keep playing or let my kids miss out on times we could be sharing together,” Lewis said. “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.”
Lewis’s son, Ray Lewis III, committed to his father’s alma mater, the University of Miami. He is currently a senior at Lake Mary Prep, where he was a star running back for the football team.
While his son still has an entire football career ahead of him, proud dad Ray Lewis leaves quite an NFL legacy. The linebacker is a 13-time Pro Bowler, two-time AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year and three-time AFC Defensive Player of the Year. He won the Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2000-2001 and was named Super Bowl MVP.
He also holds the record for most Pro Bowl nominations for an inside linebacker, most All-Pro selections for an inside linebacker, most games started at middle/inside linebacker (227 and counting), quickest to reach both the 20 sack/20 interception and 30 sack/30 interception clubs and is the only linebacker in history to record 40 sacks and 30 interceptions in his career.
“I just felt so much peace in where I am with my decision because of everything I’ve done in this league,” Lewis said when speaking to the media. “There’s no accolade that I don’t have individually but I’ve never played the game for individual stats. I’ve only played the game to make my team be a better team.”