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Ray Lewis: “This will be my last ride”

Cleveland Browns v Baltimore Ravens Getty Images

One of the greatest players in NFL history is preparing to hang it up after the playoffs.

Ray Lewis, the Ravens linebacker and future Pro Football Hall of Famer, said today that he plans to retire following this season. The Ravens open the playoffs on Sunday against the Colts, in what will likely be Lewis’s last game in Baltimore.

“This will be my last ride,” Lewis said.

The Ravens’ first-round pick in the 1996 NFL draft, Lewis has been chosen to 13 Pro Bowls, is a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and was the Super Bowl XXXV Most Valuable Player.

Lewis’s decision is no surprise: At age 37, he has already played far longer than most NFL linebackers, and this season has been a disappointment, with a torn triceps muscle causing him to miss 10 games. Lewis also said on ProFootballTalk Live in October that he wants to step away from the game in time to watch his son play at the University of Miami next season, and there’s already speculation that he’ll line up a post-NFL job at ESPN.

So while players sometimes change their minds about retirement, this doesn’t seem like a rash decision for Lewis. These playoffs will probably be the last opportunity for football fans to see one of the best linebackers ever to play the game.

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140 Responses to “Ray Lewis: “This will be my last ride””
  1. ravenscaps48 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:19 PM

    Greatest of All Time…. GET HIM ANOTHER RING!!!

  2. logicalvoicesays says: Jan 2, 2013 12:23 PM

    London Fletcher is the best MLB since Singletary.

  3. pooflingingmonkey says: Jan 2, 2013 12:23 PM

    Ray Lewis is undoubtedly a HoF Linebacker, one of the greatest to ever play, but this doesn’t mean he’s going to be a good braodcaster. I’m sick of the former player idiots they endlessly hire.

  4. bucrightoff says: Jan 2, 2013 12:24 PM

    Screw the yellow blazer, have him go into the HOF wearing a white suit, assuming he can find one.

  5. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Jan 2, 2013 12:26 PM

    Even some of us Steeler fans have a heck of a lot of respect for the great Ray Lewis.

    First ballot all day long.

  6. fantasticfootballguru says: Jan 2, 2013 12:26 PM

    Respect

  7. blacknole08 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:26 PM

    Congrats to him and hopefully he can leave on top (as in, not re-injure those triceps). He’s the best MLB of this generation.

  8. gpry says: Jan 2, 2013 12:26 PM

    Anyone with objectivity will say Lewis is among the greatest players, regardless of position, to ever play the game!!!

  9. edisbetterthantroy says: Jan 2, 2013 12:26 PM

    Thank You Ray! The market just exploded for tickets to Sunday’s game…

  10. djstat says: Jan 2, 2013 12:26 PM

    Awesome career. Awesome ambassador for football. Amazing committment to the community. Thanks Ray.

    All you haters, stay away for a day

  11. bh83 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:27 PM

    I generally don’t believe NFL players need coaches or players to pump them up and motivate them as much as college players do. They are older, more mature and professional athletes. That being said, Ray Lewis could motivate almost any NFL player or team with his intensity. Hopefully he utilizes those skills to influence people at se level in sports/life.

  12. irishfan109 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:27 PM

    Sad to hear it. Ray is the ultimate competitor and I don’t think we’ll see another player like him in quite some time.

  13. oriolesvsravens says: Jan 2, 2013 12:27 PM

    Greatest MLB in my lifetime. It’s time tho.

  14. scoobies05 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:27 PM

    all i can say is….thank you ray. you are a legend and will be missed

  15. juliodamfoolio says: Jan 2, 2013 12:28 PM

    Even as a Steeler fan, I can say that he is one of the best ever…but the ride will end in Denver in the divisional round.

    Also, please don’t give ESPN any form of credibility by working for them – you’re too good for those imbeciles.

  16. dublinmyluck says: Jan 2, 2013 12:28 PM

    Great player, great person. I wish him all the best in his post-player years.

  17. tdshouldbeinthehall says: Jan 2, 2013 12:28 PM

    Best MLB of all time.

  18. malvaren18 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:28 PM

    Greatest of all time, too bad he is playing for the Ravens.

  19. reemer894 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:28 PM

    I bet Ed Reed follows suit at years end

  20. bayrich says: Jan 2, 2013 12:28 PM

    The game won’t be the same without him not many players like him

  21. dryzzt23 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:28 PM

    Lewis is NOT the G.O.A.T. LB. He is behind guys like Butkus, Lambert, Ham, Taylor, Nitschke, Huff, etc.

    Lewis is merely an overhyped LB in a time where the sportsmedia blows everything way out of proportion, like the “greatness” of Lewis. Good, yes, great no.

    If Lewis was so “great” and if he is the GOAT then why has he only got his team to 1 stinkin’ Super Bowl?

  22. jjbadd385 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:28 PM

    Truly one of the greatest LB’s of all time!! Even as a Bronco fan, I have NO problem saying that!! Cue all the insults about his past and crap, but anyone who would deny his talent ain’t a true fan of the sport!!

  23. jefftownsend52 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:29 PM

    I believe this will be his last run but you also have to think of this as a motivation tactic. Ravens have had some great regular seasons in the past but haven’t able to get over the hump in the playoffs. Coming off a great game against the Giants and a flat game against the Bengals, this will certainly pump up the team. Just imagine Ray coming out of the tunnel during introductions! His play is certainly not where it was several years ago but his inspiration for this team is at an all time high.

  24. gochargersgo says: Jan 2, 2013 12:29 PM

    Wouldnt necessarily read too far into this. Ray is a master motivator and this would be a great tactic.

  25. ronin36 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:29 PM

    I hope he can stay healthy.

    Any great player, such as he, wants to be on the field at the end… not helplessly watching from the side.

  26. co0p11 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:29 PM

    Greatest LB of my lifetime. When you take how productive he has been over a long period of time with one of the most violent positions in all of sports he is a first ballot HoF.

  27. shaniskins says: Jan 2, 2013 12:30 PM

    Im not a Ray Ray hater, but I do think he is much more well known for his antics before the game and as a leader than as the greatest ILB ever. Look at London Fletcher’s stats……pretty damn comparable, but London gets no respect…

    With that said, I hope he goes out at the Superbowl with an L to the SKINS!!!

    HTTR!!!!!!

  28. basballguy says: Jan 2, 2013 12:30 PM

    Is this like a Brett Favre or Ed Reed retirement?

  29. tdrundmc says: Jan 2, 2013 12:30 PM

    Good riddance. Ur act is old now and we all know ur a murderer. U won’t be missed.

  30. realfootballfan says: Jan 2, 2013 12:31 PM

    It’s been a pleasure watching. Best LB of a generation.

  31. reed20ravens says: Jan 2, 2013 12:31 PM

    Let’s win this one for Ray. Like him or not he has put everything he has into this organization and without him, the Baltimore Ravens would not even be on the map in the NFL.

  32. 2dmo4 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:31 PM

    Dude is a beast. Woulda loved to have him on my team.

  33. canetic says: Jan 2, 2013 12:32 PM

    The U could use a defensive coach. How about it Ray?

  34. vinegarstrokes42 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:32 PM

    not a ravens fan but i have nothing but respest for ray ray. one of the best linebackers ever to lace em up

  35. pacificamjr says: Jan 2, 2013 12:32 PM

    This guy has been killin’ it for years! Nice to see him take a stab at 1 more ring before he hangs it up!

  36. Awol.West says: Jan 2, 2013 12:32 PM

    Mr. Lewis with that attitude & leadership your future is bright and your presence was felt across the NFL and its fan bases. #52 it was my pleasure to watch a man’s man. Hope to see you on TV, Ray Ray!

  37. mrconnors says: Jan 2, 2013 12:33 PM

    About time. His whole “look at me, I’m so focused and intense” act has gotten old over the past 17 years.

  38. camcameronsucks says: Jan 2, 2013 12:33 PM

    Lifetime Ravens fan, my family’s had season tickets since 1996 but I still remember my dad taking me to games at Memorial stadium.

    Jonathon Ogden and Ray Lewis are the original Raven’s who started this franchise off right, and sadly at the end of the season both will be retired.

    You can hate the Raven’s, hate Baltimore, hate the Division, but it’s impossible to hate Ray Lewis, the greatest middle linebacker of all time, and I get to tell my future kids that I watched him play.

  39. ravensrooster94 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:34 PM

    Those of us who are lucky enough to have tickets for this Sunday’s game against the Colts will be able to see “Ray’s Squirrel Dance” ONE LAST TIME.

    Super Bowl Champion, Defensive Player of the Year, 12 Pro Bowls. Nobody did it better!

  40. patsfan22 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:35 PM

    Sad, I would have liked to see him at least for one more year, when he’s fully recovered from his injury as I doubt he’ll be the same after missing ten games.

    Maybe this will inspire the Ravens and wake the team up, with the Colts and likely Broncos coming up next they are going to need to play much better than they’ve done recently.

  41. csndrew says: Jan 2, 2013 12:35 PM

    As a huge NFL fan since 1995, here are the 3 greatest players I’ve ever seen:

    3. Ray Lewis
    2. Tom Brady
    1. Peyton Manning

  42. mgavin78 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:36 PM

    Hurricane Ray. Luv ya!!! UM all day.

  43. mazblast says: Jan 2, 2013 12:36 PM

    The last five years, he’s been known more for his playing to the NFL Films cameras than for his actual, you know, PLAY. That said, an all-time great in his time, and I wish him well in his playing to the cameras in the future.

  44. patfic15 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:38 PM

    Too bad the Colts will bring that retirement a little quicker.

  45. yankeemofo says: Jan 2, 2013 12:39 PM

    The “GOAT” would be nearing the end of his prison sentence if justice truly existed these days.

  46. joerevs300 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:39 PM

    Rare is the MLB talent that can sniff out almost any run, follow the flow, and stuff it.

    Ray Lewis did this year after year after year, especially against my Steelers.

    Getting into discussions about the GOAT is not exactly fair. Different decades had different styles. He WAS the unquestioned leader of one of the greatest individual defensive teams of all time, that being the 2000 Ravens, who gave him his only SB ring.

    The reality is, windows close all the time on athletes, some quicker than others. I think Lewis realizes if Baltimore doesn’t get it done this year, they may never get it done considering the direction rules and offenses are going, which minimizes Baltimore’s greatest strength (their defense, though not this season).

    Hats off to one of the most intense players ever to play in the NFL. Maybe he’ll get that 2nd SB ring after all.

  47. bengalskuta82 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:40 PM

    Great All time LB..deserves to go out with multiple SB rings.Unfortunely he has been with a team that has been so focused on defense and less on offense..Sorry men get older every year..Baltimore front office wasted his time there..1 ring is not good enough..This man has done his part..its a shame he never had a offense to help him and his unit out at times

  48. jamal1971 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:40 PM

    Ray Lewis the G.O.A.T(Greatest Of All Time)

  49. ghosts go boo says: Jan 2, 2013 12:40 PM

    Off to “Dancing withe the Stars” next…

  50. cherrybop says: Jan 2, 2013 12:41 PM

    Ray was a truly dominating man at times and a killer linebacker, even though Hines Ward used to own him on the field back in their heydays.

  51. turdsmuggler says: Jan 2, 2013 12:41 PM

    Does this mean by retiring at the end of the season, he plans on trying out getting away with murder full time? Hmmmmm

  52. pongonfl says: Jan 2, 2013 12:42 PM

    ya CSAndrew, that is a good list.
    And the NFL is in good shape cause there are young guys at all positions that could have careers like that if they work as hard as those three have.

    mazblast, I disagree, he has had some great productive years late in his career.

  53. canehouse says: Jan 2, 2013 12:42 PM

    Sugar Ray Ray, thanks for the memories! He will be regarded as one of the absolute best players to ever strap it on in NFL!! No question he is a first ballot HOF’er… I am going to say it now… His HOF acceptance speech will be one for the ages. He will inspire and touch like nothing we’ve ever witnessed.

  54. blacknole08 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:43 PM

    Possibly the greatest pre-game speech I’ve ever heard.

  55. napoleonblownapart6887 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:43 PM

    One of the GOAT at his position – football isn’t the same without him.

    Wit that being said, we’ve had a preview of what it’ll be like as over the last few years he just hasn’t been the same guy between the sidelines – getting beat by guys younger, faster, and stronger.

    Somewhat surprised to see him hang it up this year considering their path to championship looks difficult to say the least. Would have thought he’d wait until next year, take one more run at it with Webb, Suggs, and Co.

    Let the speculation begin on Reed.

  56. cervetta12 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:44 PM

    Tell me why the NFL continues to glorify this murderer? I’m sure if O.J. was in his prime when he did what he did in 1994, the NFL would let him still play too to make money off it.

    Good Riddance.

  57. nagihcimwolves50 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:45 PM

    Will people stop trying to compare stats of MLBs in the NFL. Tackles is one of the most worthless stats ever because a tackle at the line of scrimmage is just as valued, in that stat, as one 20 yds down field. Anyone who knows the game of football knows Ray Lewis was in a class of his own as an MLB for the first 10-11 years he played. Add in his ridiculous ability to motivate people and anchor the Ravens defense and elevate the play of the entire defense and he really is one of the 20 or 30 greatest to ever play the game.

    And I am a Steeler fan.

  58. geniusfan says: Jan 2, 2013 12:45 PM

    Ray Lewis is the best defensive player I’ve ever seen and Tom Brady is the best offensive player I’ve ever seen so when one of those guys decides to retire it’s the end of an era.

    Please don’t go to ESPN Ray, you’re much to good for them.

  59. rg3sus says: Jan 2, 2013 12:46 PM

    I expect many thumbs down for this, but I’ve gotta say about time. He was once a beast and one of the best in the game but he is well past his prime. Being a local and having watched almost every game for his entire career, i must say the Ravens will be better off with some fresh legs at the position in his replacement. The best way he could help would be to remain active in the organization as a coach or something. He brings a passion that players respond to. He just doesn’t have the speed to be on the field any more.

  60. laserw says: Jan 2, 2013 12:46 PM

    Maybe he can take his post-retirement time to contemplate his earlier life and the murder charge he managed to escape.

  61. fuzzytaint says: Jan 2, 2013 12:47 PM

    Awesome, I’m tired of him telling us what a great leader of men he is.

    Sadly we will probably get his mouth on the nearly unwatchable nfl network.

  62. weezyward says: Jan 2, 2013 12:47 PM

    It is a joke that anyone would say he was “overrated” or just good not great. I am a West Coast guy and hate the ” east coast bias” that is out there but I’ve been watching football religiously for 30 years. He Was the best MLB in football for 10+ years, not his entire career. Nobody during the last 30 years has been that good for that long.

    P.s please stop with 1 Super Bowl. Nobody drafts or signs a linebacker and says its Super Bowl time! Shows your Ignorance.

  63. patriotsdefense says: Jan 2, 2013 12:47 PM

    I think he’s pulling a Farve. I don’t think this is his last ride.

    First Ballot Hall of Famer and the headliner of the class, which ever year it is.

  64. ravensdominate says: Jan 2, 2013 12:50 PM

    Love you Ray!!! Will never forget seeing you come out of the tunnel at M&T Bank. The Greatest of all Time!

  65. siggtacular says: Jan 2, 2013 12:52 PM

    Long live the greatest, Ray Lewis

  66. 25cuts says: Jan 2, 2013 12:56 PM

    Big ups for the greatest linebacker in history.

  67. bunkmcnulty says: Jan 2, 2013 12:57 PM

    As a Ravens fan, I can’t say any more about Ray Lewis and his game. See you at the HOF in 5 years.

    But I will say, he is not perfect and made mistakes. But the true judge of a man is how he bounces up after falling. He has become a trusted confidante of many a player. He now regularly counsels and gives back. I give credit for Coach Billick, Art Modell, Shannon Sharp and Rod Woodson for turning Ray around.

    I read the haters. Sad you all can’t be objective. I think even you know the player and person Ray has become. You just like being the first out there with something negative. You all remind me of someone that would take guns into a school as a joke.

    Funny too how the Redskins finally show some life and now their fans are smacking at the legitimate players and teams. Nothing wrong with players like RG3, Morris, and Fletcher. They’re good guys. It’s just not their time.

  68. kane337 says: Jan 2, 2013 12:59 PM

    Ray Lewis you are the best linebacker within my lifetime. Much respect. Enjoy retirement. We know you will continue to inspire millions.

  69. steelers1981 says: Jan 2, 2013 1:00 PM

    Playing the Ravens and Ray Lewis twice a year helped the Steelers win two Super Bowls. 1st ballot HOF’er.

    Signed,
    Steeler Fan

  70. polo550 says: Jan 2, 2013 1:00 PM

    dryzzt23 says:
    ———————-
    Lewis is NOT the G.O.A.T. LB. He is behind guys like Butkus, Lambert, Ham, Taylor, Nitschke, Huff, etc.

    Geesh! There are some real idiots that post here. How would you know that those guys are better than Lewis? Are you even old enough to have seen them play? Stop hatin. Damn. Every one of those guys that you mentioned would have killed to have Ray’s sideline to sideline speed. There has never been a MLB with his kind of talent and intangibles. Give the man his due. He’s been the leader of a defense that’s been dominant for more than 10 years (along with Pittsburgh). They have finished in the top 10 every year in defense since they won the Superbowl. Other than the Steelers, no other team can claim that. Dude won the SB MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season? Please stop with the London Fletcher comparisons too. Seriously? Really good MLB and he will probably make it to the Hall one day buy nobody will mention his name in the same breath as Lewis. Sorry

  71. ravenator says: Jan 2, 2013 1:01 PM

    Some of you people are absolutely disgusting. So glad you steeler fans can watch the Ravens in the postseason on your couch just like your players are.

  72. stew48 says: Jan 2, 2013 1:01 PM

    No question about it—-the greatest linebacker to ever play………for the Ravens!

  73. pastabelly says: Jan 2, 2013 1:04 PM

    I actually think he was a great leader for that franchise. I don’t think he was as dominant as Lawrence Taylor, so I can’t call him the greatest that I have even seen.

    As far as working in the media, he should be okay. He understands the game as well as anybody and he’s fairly articulate. He also hasn’t been afraid through the years to call people out and has been pretty honest.

    I don’t want to pump NBC’s tires (as I am not a Costas fan), but Dungy and Harrison are two of the best in the media who are former players. They don’t need to shout or come up with ridiculous catch phrases to have provocative discussions on the game.

  74. thefiesty1 says: Jan 2, 2013 1:06 PM

    Good for him. Enjoy the rest of your life.

  75. skins23 says: Jan 2, 2013 1:07 PM

    I’ve been saying for a month I can’t wait to pound whoever is hosting the Colts the first round minus a TD.

    Glad I made the wager before this news came out.

  76. cincyhokie says: Jan 2, 2013 1:07 PM

    I’m not a Ravens fan…

    He’s one of my favorite players, active or retired.

    Also one of THE best all around players in NFL history.

    He will be missed.

  77. JSpicoli says: Jan 2, 2013 1:07 PM

    Next.

  78. tennesseeoilers says: Jan 2, 2013 1:08 PM

    During my youth, I saw Lawrence Taylor play a lot of games against my Washington Redskins (even breaking my favorite quarterback’s leg). He was like no force I’d ever seen. That said, I’ve been following the AFC since the Oilers came to Nashville in 1997, and Ray Lewis has disrupted opposing offenses even more than the great Lawrence Taylor. Was Lewis even better than the legendary Butkis? I suspect so . . .

  79. scoobies05 says: Jan 2, 2013 1:09 PM

    i think its actually other people saying what a great leader of men he is fuzzy. people like his teammates…his coaches. he is one of the true legends of the game and he is universally respected as one of the greatest leaders in the history of sports. he will have a long post football career as a motivational speaker if he chooses

  80. bunkmcnulty says: Jan 2, 2013 1:11 PM

    Hats off to the Divisional fans recognizing Ray’s greatness. You are classy and REAL FANS to not be a homer to great players. As a Ravens fan, I can’t even say he is the greatest ever. For the Middle I go:

    1. Butkus
    2. Lambert
    3. Lewis
    4. Singletary

    I was a small kid watching Butkus at the end of his career. Lambert was insane! Lewis, intensity personified (as was Singletary). Never saw Bednarik play but I know he deserves mention.

  81. commonsensedude says: Jan 2, 2013 1:13 PM

    Maybe this will motivate Baltimore to amp it up several notches and give Ray a chance to compete in another SuperBowl.

    I do predict they will absolutely destroy the former team from Baltimore this weekend (we can ship whatever remains of the Colts back to Indianapolis on the Mayflower).

  82. jdfrox says: Jan 2, 2013 1:13 PM

    For anyone trying to compare other MLBs to Ray, consider this. He won the defensive player of the year in a 4-3 AND 3-4 defense. I would also suggest you compare his longevity to those other MLBs. You will be surprised when you see how long his career has lasted when compared to Butkus, Lambert and Singletary. It’s all objective, but to me, Ray is better than all of these guys. He is the face of his franchise and I will be there when he is inducted into the HOF just as I have been for nearly every one of his home games since he entered the league in ’96 and of course the Super Bowl in 2000.

  83. guitarkevin says: Jan 2, 2013 1:14 PM

    Ray Lewis – 52
    Forevermore

  84. otis52gsh says: Jan 2, 2013 1:15 PM

    Great career Mr. Lewis. Enjoy your retirement, it’s well earned.

  85. nonetruerthanblue says: Jan 2, 2013 1:15 PM

    Truly great LB

  86. coughlinsredcheeks says: Jan 2, 2013 1:19 PM

    For as much as I dislike him for the Atlanta incident, he’s easily a top 5 LB of all time and can’t wait to see him get his bust in Canton.

  87. arson81 says: Jan 2, 2013 1:21 PM

    Somewhere Eddie George just found his courage again.

  88. cowboysallday says: Jan 2, 2013 1:23 PM

    Greatest MLB to ever play hands down. Would love to see him as a coach he could easily be a great motivator

  89. tdrundmc says: Jan 2, 2013 1:27 PM

    That was the lamest pre game speech I’ve ever witnessed. Stanford later went on to to lose the game too.

  90. citizenstrange says: Jan 2, 2013 1:34 PM

    His pre-game prancing looked like something out of a Jerry Lewis movie.

  91. huskersrock1 says: Jan 2, 2013 1:35 PM

    Now he will have plenty of time to volunteer in his community neighborhood watch program.

    Despite being a terrible witness, he is one of the greatest linebackers ever, He raised the level of effort of every member of the team.

  92. tomthebombtracy says: Jan 2, 2013 1:37 PM

    Another Steelers fan with a tip of the cap to Ray Lewis. Clearly a no brainer first round Canton candidate.

    His exit style reminds me of Jerome Bettis’ last year….the Steelers really seemed to rally around getting Jerome home to Detroit to win that SB 40 on his last chance…which he did!

    We hope Jerome gets the Hall Call this week.
    Steelers and Ravens fans better get used to seeing each other at Canton because we both got some guys heaaded that way.

    As to comparing Lewis to our Hall guys Ham and Lambert, it’s really hard to compare eras. Such a different game, always evolving. Let’s just say they’re GREAT!

  93. thetooloftools says: Jan 2, 2013 1:40 PM

    This last ride will drop him off in Canton Ohio. He knows when to get out.
    All my best Ray.
    Very well done.

  94. steelerfanforlife says: Jan 2, 2013 1:43 PM

    I loved watching Ray play. I’m not sure I’ll ever see another person like him in my lifetime.

  95. ourturn2shine says: Jan 2, 2013 1:45 PM

    I’ve never seen anybody play with heart that this guy has shwn on the football field. Even as a Bengals fan, I hate to see somebody like this leave the game. I don’t care about his off field issue either, like him or not, he was exciting to watch

  96. snarcasms says: Jan 2, 2013 1:45 PM

    Best to man the middle, with Lambert as a close runner up.

    Here is to hoping they destroy the Colts.

  97. rockthered1286 says: Jan 2, 2013 1:45 PM

    I could gush about Ray Lewis forever, bI’ll keep it brief- Ray Lewis IS Baltimore Ravens football. His influence goes beyond the field to the kids immitating his dance, to Rays Days and his charity events, to his mentoring of several players on EVERY NFL team (that’s right- you bash Ray but someone on your team is getting mentored by him), to his outreach to the poverty stricken communities… Ray is all around a great person, not just a great player. Say what you want about his incident 10+ years ago- people make poor decisions. It’s not about what you did. It’s about how you react and what you do to change from there, and Ray went on to become an integral part of this organization, this sport, this city. He is a true living legend.

  98. coolzog says: Jan 2, 2013 1:47 PM

    “Butkus, Lambert, Ham, Taylor, Nitschke, Huff”

    These guys would likely embarass themselves trying to cover the TEs and WRs of the modern game.

  99. bornboxed says: Jan 2, 2013 1:53 PM

    Good luck on your last season, Ray.

    And thanks for the great plays in Madden!

  100. ragingyinzer says: Jan 2, 2013 1:54 PM

    Wouldn’t it have been more epic if he would have waited to announce his retirement on the podium after the Super Bowl win?

    See? Even Ray Ray knows the Ravens won’t get there.

    The REAL football team from Baltimore wins on Sunday.

  101. jolink653 says: Jan 2, 2013 1:58 PM

    As a lifelong Patriots fan, I have grown to hate the Ravens over the last decade or so. That being said, I love Ray Lewis: he’s one of my favorite all time players and I have nothing but admiration and respect for the way he’s played the game throughout his career. This man is a warrior and in his prime was one of the most terrorizing players in the league on either side of the ball. His passion for the game is what really set him apart from everyone else (for a glimpse, just watch the opening speech from Madden ’13) and I can honestly say he’s the best defensive player I’ve ever seen play the game (I’m 26 so I never saw LT play). I still go through Youtube videos of his biggest hits, especially the one where he laid out Dustin Keller on opening night a few seasons ago, his dances coming out of the tunnel, and the pregame pumpup speeches he always comes up with(we did one of them at my friend’s wedding reception). The game just won’t be the same anymore without him. I can’t say enough good things about him, and I hope he is as successful and great in retirement as he was on the field.

  102. teedraper says: Jan 2, 2013 2:03 PM

    One of? Sorry but he’s the best LB ever…excluding no one!

  103. CaJonMcChicken says: Jan 2, 2013 2:06 PM

    Ray Lewis is gonna have a profitable motivational speaking career, if he so chooses.

  104. jamaltimore says: Jan 2, 2013 2:06 PM

    I’ve had the pleasure to watch the GOAT live in and color since he came into the league in 96. I’ll never forget sitting in the stands at memorial stadium in his early years while the ravens are getting blown out again. All you heard over the sound system was “#52, Ray Lewis on the tackle” When everyone else had packed it in #52 was just running sideline to sideline hitting anything in his way.

    He is the Baltimore Ravens, they personify Ray Lewis not the other way around and that is pretty freaking amazing! Ray Lewis coming out of the tunnel for a big game is unbelievable energy. Haters hate it but until you are standing their live and can feel the energy inside that stadium you’ll never know. And unless you plan on attending Sunday you will NEVER no.

    Thanks for memories Ray! Too many to count! I’m so glad you were drafted by the Ravens and we had the chance to call you our captain for 17 years! God Bless, enjoy the kids and please continue to be a part of the Raven Nation!

  105. shlort says: Jan 2, 2013 2:10 PM

    pacificamjr says:Jan 2, 2013 12:32 PM

    This guy has been killin’ it for years! Nice to see him take a stab at 1 more ring before he hangs it up!
    _________________________________

    Hilarious!

  106. electionconfidential says: Jan 2, 2013 2:10 PM

    Great player with a checkered past. Perfect for ESPN.

  107. mdav1042 says: Jan 2, 2013 2:12 PM

    I agree Ray is the best linebacker in history, for now… By the time Patrick Willis hangs his cleats up, he will be the best linebacker to ever play the game and Ray Lewis will be a distant memory. 49ers for life!

  108. melikefootball says: Jan 2, 2013 2:13 PM

    He will be missed by me I figure it had a 50-50 chance to rain when he did his dance before the game.

  109. jfolland says: Jan 2, 2013 2:13 PM

    I’ll see ya at “The Bank” on Sunday, Ray.

    Even though I’m biased, the moment he steps out on the field and does that stupid dance, the stadium goes crazy and that atmosphere alone is worth the price of admission.

    Can’t wait to experience it one last time this weekend.

  110. shlort says: Jan 2, 2013 2:15 PM

    coolzog says:Jan 2, 2013 1:47 PM

    “Butkus, Lambert, Ham, Taylor, Nitschke, Huff”

    These guys would likely embarass themselves trying to cover the TEs and WRs of the modern game.

    ________________________________

    Those guys were the trailblazers of the position and the sport. Of course they couldnt come out and play against todays machines with yesterdays bodies. The game has been honed by science since those cats played. Give any of those mentioned access to a football upringing like we have these days, and they would be great by todays standards as well.

    Conversely, I doubt todays players could smoke 2 packs a day, get piss drunk the night before a game, and play at the level of Butkus, Lambert, Ham, Taylor, Nitschke, Huff and the other pioneers of the position.

  111. gostlcards5 says: Jan 2, 2013 2:15 PM

    Great LB (HoF, clearly), but I never cared for the guy personally. So to him, I say — Good-bye, good riddance, and stay out of the broadcast booth so I do not have to listen to your self-righteous BS, Ray.

    And to the Colts — Send him home early! (Go Horse!)

  112. lionsplayoffs says: Jan 2, 2013 2:36 PM

    I wish I had guys like Ray Lewis and Mike Singletary sitting next to me at work. It would be awesome.

  113. mintberrycrunch1 says: Jan 2, 2013 2:42 PM

    Ray Lewis has head coach written all over him. That guy could motivate a clump of moss.

  114. steelerben says: Jan 2, 2013 2:44 PM

    2013 – Line Backer Coach
    2015 – Defensive coordinator
    2017 – Head Coach

  115. Nofoolnodrool says: Jan 2, 2013 2:47 PM

    ravenator | Jan 2, 2013, 1:01 PM EST
    Some of you people are absolutely disgusting. So glad you steeler fans can watch the Ravens in the postseason on your couch just like your players are.

    Copy then paste as usual..

    Sorry Ray but that kid would rather bash steelers than honor a great player for his team ….you were something to watch, fear, and respect. Good luck as life moves on for you.

  116. justintuckrule says: Jan 2, 2013 2:50 PM

    Should Ravens’ fans boo Lewis mercilessly for announcing his retirement before a playoff run just like Giants’ fans booed Tiki Barber mercilessly for essentially the same crime?

  117. ferrell5 says: Jan 2, 2013 2:56 PM

    most of the stories ive seen about this news contain many conflicting comments. give credit where it is due. with that being said, when there is a lot of grey area with any case, there are going to be doubters.

  118. marik0502 says: Jan 2, 2013 2:59 PM

    Why all the disrespect for Ray Lewis? I understand that people hate him (haters gonna hate), but at least respect the man. Jordan had a lot of haters, but people at least respected him.

  119. letemplay says: Jan 2, 2013 3:10 PM

    The best there is

    The best there was

    And the best there ever will be

    It was a pleasure to watch you play the game, I doubt I’ll see anything like it in football again.

  120. fc187 says: Jan 2, 2013 3:25 PM

    Great player.
    Hated that he played for the rival Ravens.
    Steeler/Ravens games will not be the same without Ray.

    Good luck Ray.

    We will be seeing you on the steps of Canton.

  121. ravenseattheirownpoop says: Jan 2, 2013 3:25 PM

    Good

  122. Nofoolnodrool says: Jan 2, 2013 3:42 PM

    letemplay | Jan 2, 2013, 3:10 PM EST
    The best there is

    The best there was

    And the best there ever will be

    It was a pleasure to watch you play the game, I doubt I’ll see anything like it in football again.

    I have watch the game since Sam Huff played for the g-men. With that in mind calling Ray the best ever is not correct. The best in the last 17 years probably. You can’t compare today’s superbly trained men to the players of old it’s not fair. So it’s fair to say he is the best of his era which is not shabby at all.

  123. elliottcovert says: Jan 2, 2013 4:06 PM

    Ray Lewis is one of the greatest men who has ever lived.

  124. mrstpaul says: Jan 2, 2013 4:06 PM

    “Lewis is NOT the G.O.A.T. LB. He is behind guys like Butkus, Lambert, Ham, Taylor, Nitschke, Huff, etc.

    …..

    If Lewis was so “great” and if he is the GOAT then why has he only got his team to 1 stinkin’ Super Bowl?”

    _____________________________________

    Butkus and Huff never got to a Super Bowl. So what does that prove?

    I agree we live in an age of hype, but Lewis is a great player and it’s nice to see someone like that going out on his own terms.

    For everyone referencing the Atlanta incident…the media is studiously avoiding talking about that today. Except for Michael Irvin on NFL Network. For all his blowhard ways, that’s why I have affection for the Playmaker as a talking head. He’ll go there.

    He pointed out that since Atlanta, you haven’t heard anything negative about Lewis off the field. Or about Baltimore players in general. Irvin said players coming to the Ravens have a sit down with Lewis and he tells them the importance of being smart and not associating with people who can get you in trouble. Irvin said Lewis tells them, “This is not something I’ve heard. This is what happened to me.”

    I’m looking forward to the video of his Saturday night speech. Colts/Ravens is going to be a hell of a game.

  125. kaakwha says: Jan 2, 2013 4:22 PM

    At his best, he was the best Mid.LB ever, bar none.
    His longevity was/is amazing!
    Not what he once was, but at his peak he was the best.

  126. nickster31 says: Jan 2, 2013 4:40 PM

    Steelers fan here, and it is a sad day to see the Great Ray Lewis walk away from the game. I am also a Miami Hurricanes fan, and it broke my heart when the Ravens drafted my favorite college player!

    First ballot HOF, no question!

    Personally, I would LOVE to see Ray coach the Hurricanes defense next year!

  127. sixjak says: Jan 2, 2013 5:03 PM

    *time

  128. steeldominance says: Jan 2, 2013 5:16 PM

    I was thinking about going to Miami for the National Championship game. Then I read this article and realized that January 7th will be the day after the Ravens lose to the Colts. Ray will be back in Miami, angry with a lot of time on his hands. I think I will stay home.

  129. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Jan 2, 2013 5:34 PM

    “Ray just don’t go changing your mind like some people do.” Sincerely, Bret Favre

  130. lucasbabe1978 says: Jan 2, 2013 8:40 PM

    I’m a huge lifelong Steeler fan, and I have to tip my hat to ray Lewis, between him, Hines ward, Ed reed and Troy polamalu, they made the steelers-ravens best rivalry in football what it is today, and with 3 of those guys gone next year, it’ll be hard to match what the rivalry has brought us since 2001.

  131. despinosa8 says: Jan 2, 2013 9:10 PM

    Made he can endorse Buck or Swiss Army knifes as a job after football?

  132. slammer69 says: Jan 2, 2013 10:40 PM

    As a Steelers fan I’m giving my respect to a true Future Hall of Famer because he earned it and some. Ray played the game as it should be play with alot of heart and never stop until you hear the last whistle blow. I too want to thanks Ray for all the rivalries and hard hitting smacksdowns on Sunday mornings..

  133. jddre says: Jan 2, 2013 11:07 PM

    To all you haters, he was found INNOCENT. I know you clowns would be singing a different tune if it was YOU that was in a position of having to defend yourself, being found innocent, and then people still thinking YOU are guilty, all of you would be crying your innocence. Sorry for all you haters.

  134. mrp2003 says: Jan 3, 2013 7:25 AM

    As a Steelers fan, we loved to hate him but as a football player everyone respected him. He is the best of his era. No matter what anyone says, everyone would have wanted him on their team because of his play and leadership.

    His issue with the law years ago probably helped him change his life style a little. He does a lot of good work with charities and it seems he is sincere about it but he is probably lucky they never found the bloody shirt. As I said he does a lot of good work now and hopefully he will continue

  135. mikey77750 says: Jan 3, 2013 8:22 AM

    As a football player, one of the best, not a doubt…

    As a human being, he took a life, and everyone conveniently forgets about that. Found innocent or not, he knows he did it, and got away with it. Money and provoked confusion during the trial will help with that a lot. It will come back to haunt him someday. What goes around, comes around….

  136. memphisyinzer says: Jan 3, 2013 10:28 AM

    As a Steeler fan, I think Ray not only fired up his team for the Steeler / Ravens games, but made the Steelers better players as well by transferring that enthusiasm to the Steelers and keeping the rivalry strong.

    I’m sure the oppostion won’t miss the hard hits and bruises he laid upon the offensive, but I believe they will miss the spirit and commitment he brought to the game each and every week. He truly knows the game of football.

    I wish him well. I hope we see him in some capacity of Pro Football in the future as a linebacker coach, defensive coordinator, or something of that fashion.

    Good luck and good health. See you in Canton in 5 years.

  137. Dean Keaton says: Jan 3, 2013 10:46 AM

    jddre – Where are you getting your info? RAY LEWIS PLED GUILTY TO OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE, only because they didn’t have enough proof to get him on the murder charge itself. He wouldn’t have entered that guilty plea if he thought the evidence wouldn’t have yielded the same result in a trial, so he was at least actively trying to impede an investigation into a murder, possibly one that he committed himself.

  138. urworstnitemare58 says: Jan 3, 2013 10:51 AM

    As a Steelers fan, I’m glad to see him retire and hope he takes Suggs with him. Think how much better the Steelers defense or offense would be if they had leadership like Mr. Ray Lewis to get them fired up rather than sitting around looking like a limp washcloth. Good luck Ray in what ever you.

  139. steelersfanfromtheseventies says: Jan 3, 2013 11:54 AM

    Best players ive ever seen

  140. vern011952 says: Jan 3, 2013 7:39 PM

    Guilty but dodged the bullet!!!

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