You’ve got to hand it to Ray Lewis.
He has so successfully sold you Ray Lewis for so long, that he feels like he owes it to you to have a chance to tell Ray Lewis how much you appreciate Ray Lewis.
During his press conference Wednesday, the Ravens linebacker said part of the reason he announced his plan to retire was to make sure there was an opportunity to properly celebrate him.
“I’ve watched many people on how they retire, and when they retire,” Lewis said. “I had not just an obligation to myself, but I had an obligation to my teammates and I had an obligation to my city – that I did not want to end the season and then say, ‘I’m gone.’ I’ve invested too much time into Baltimore, into my teammates and into the organization to ever just walk out like that.
“I believe that you should give everybody a fair chance to say their goodbyes. Playing that last game in Baltimore, announcing it the way I did, and knowing that it would be my last ride. Knowing that it would be my last time in M&T [Bank Stadium], it was one of the most amazing feelings ever. Just being able to appreciate that moment and not get to the end of the season – whenever the road stops – and say, ‘Oh, I’m done. I’m never coming back again.’
“I would have robbed a lot of people of those last goodbyes for me and them. That is why I did it that way.”
As long as it wasn’t a shameless attention-grab before he begins a broadcasting career, or a transparent attempt to motivate a team that feeds off his particular schtick, that’s OK.
Lewis is an incredible player, an invaluable leader to his team and a cornerstone of Baltimore sports culture.
He also apparently has no idea what he sounds like sometimes.