A jubilant Ray Lewis bounced to his post-game interview podium, yelling across the room to teammate Ray Rice, “Raymond, we did it.”
And while the Ravens linebacker has never shied away from attention, he said going out with a Super Bowl win before his retirement was a perfect ending to his personal story.
Hearing Lewis say, “Now I can speak about myself” without a trace of irony was interesting, as he has an uncanny knack for being in front of cameras just when he’s about to have an emotional moment.
But the impact his final game had on him was clear, as he exulted in being able to “ride off into the sunset.”
“Everything, the world, life now,” he replied when asked what was next. “My family, my sons, they really sacrificed for me, now I get the opportunity to sacrifice for them. To see their faces, to hear their comments, and know what’s in their hearts. Everything is coming now. The only thing that ends is football.
“Life really begins for Ray Lewis now.”
Lewis wasn’t the same kind of factor on the field this time through, but his emotional impact on the Ravens was clear this offseason, as players rushed to congratulate him, and share in a moment that couldn’t have been scripted more perfectly.