“I talked to my team today. I talked to them about life in general. And everything that starts has an end. For me, today, I told my team that this will be my last ride,” these are the words of Ray Lewis as he announced his retirement on Jan. 2.
Ray Lewis is the Balitmore Ravens. He will always be the Balitmore Ravens. He was the Ravens first ever draft pick back in 1996, taken 26th. He was the fourth linebacker taken. Kevin Hardy,John Mobley,and Reggie Brown were all drafted ahead of him. Ray Lewis is the last one standing. The best of that class, and one of the best of all-time.
Lewis starts every home game coming out to Nelly’s “Hot in Here” doing his dance. He is one of a kind, an inspiration to his teammates. He has played for 17 seasons and led his Ravens to the postseason 9 times in that span. The 2000 Ravens defense set a 16-game single-season record for fewest points allowed (165) and fewest rushing yards allowed (970). They also recorded four shutouts, one shy of the single-season record. Lewis won the MVP award for Super Bowl XXXV, along with Defensive Player of the Year award that season.
It has been a journey for Lewis to get back to the biggest stage in all of football. Though Lewis and the defense have been the backbone of the Ravens since their inception, the offense has for the most part struggled to keep up. During that record-setting 2000 season the Ravens won games by the defense leading the way. They only allowed 16 offensive touchdowns, and came up with the stops when needed. Capping off the record-setting season by beating the New York Giants 34-7 in Super Bowl XXXV. The dominance that defense showed that year was awe-inspiring. They showed every team in America how defense can and should be played, from the pop warner level, to peers on other NFL teams.
There are plays you remember Lewis making that you just went “damn”. That is Lewis, remember the stuff he put on Darren Sproles while he was with the San Diego Chargers. It was 4th and 2 the game on the line and Lewis shoots through the line and hits Sproles as he is getting the hand off, stopping him 4 yards in the backfield.
This is one of the 2041 tackles Lewis has amassed over his career. He has added 41.5 sacks and 31 interceptions. Lewis is the only member of the 40/30 club, he also may be the only member for a very long time. Many greats have come before him on defense but none have been so complete as Lewis.
Feb 3, 2011, that is the last time Ray Lewis puts on that Purple and Black uniform. Last time he comes out of the tunnel. The last game of his storied career. The New England Patriots started the movement of being introduced as team. On Feb 3 2011, I hope the Ravens and the NFL decide to let the Lewis get introduced individually, one last dance, one last “Hot in Here”. After the clock reads 0.0 in the 4th quarter Lewis’ career with be “Never More.” By Steve Kish