January 6th 2012 might mark the end of an era for the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL. Ray Lewis announced that he will retire at the end of the year. Lewis has been injured for the majority of the 2012 season. That injury might force him to sit in the playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts. If the Colts beat the Ravens on January 6th then it will be the end to a magnificent career.
Lewis has played 17 years in the NFL. That is simply remarkable given the average length of time a player lasts in the NFL. Beyond his longevity, it is what he has done for the Ravens and in his career that is amazing. Here are some of his accomplishments: Lewis is a 13 time Pro Bowler, Super Bowl MVP, 2 time AP NFL Defensive Player Of The Year, 3 time AFC Defensive Player Of The Year.
He is also the quickest linebacker to be in the 20 sack/20 interceptions club (113 games) and 30 sacks/30 interceptions club (204 games). Oh, and Lewis is the only member of the 40 sacks/30 interception club. If he doesn’t play on January 6th he will finish his career with 2,050 tackles, 41.5 sacks and 31 interceptions.
Lewis also was able to help most people forget about an incident that happened off the field. In 2000, Lewis was involved in a fight that resulted in the murder of an individual. Lewis was indicted with a murder charge. Due to a plea bargain the murder charge was taken off the table and he plead guilty to obstruction of justice, which is a misdemeanor.
What is amazing to me is that the incident didn’t tarnish his reputation with the general public. True, during 2000 and 2001 his image was tarnished but since then most people don’t bring it up. So, kudos to him and public relations for having individuals forget about that black eye.
Regardless, for me Lewis is one of the best linebackers that I have ever seen play the game. Lewis is one of the most complete defenders I have ever seen and let’s not forget his pregame dance. His dance and his intensity helped form the identity of the Ravens and help them win a Super Bowl. Just think if Art Model didn’t move the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1996 then I would be talking about how Lewis helped the Browns win a Super Bowl.
I’m not sure if I will see a linebacker like Lewis again. I’m just glad that I was happy enough to watch the first ballot hall of famer play.
See you in Canton.
What do you think about Ray Lewis retiring? Leave a comment and follow me on Twitter @EvanCrum1319