Don’t count on All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis granting the Baltimore Ravens the “hometown discount” in free agency, even though owner Steve Bisciotti is hoping for it.
In an interview with NFL Network, the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year said he wouldn’t give the Ravens a hometown discount and described the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Jets as intriguing possibilities, albeit with a lot of encouragement from host Jamie Dukes during their seven-minute chat.
“I don’t play less,” Lewis told NFL Network during an interview at the Pro Bowl, per the Baltimore Sun.  “If you don’t play less, you don’t take less.  That’s just life.”
Bisciotti and Ravens outside linebacker Terrell Suggs have both recently raised the topic of a hometown discount during interviews, but Lewis doesn’t sound interested in the idea.
Lewis has clashed in the past with Cowboys star wide receiver Terrell Owens, who successfully fought a trade to the Ravens in 2004 and imitated Lewis’ trademark dance after scoring a touchdown against Baltimore when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles.
However, Lewis said he wouldn’t have an issue being Owens’ teammate.
“I can definitely play with T.O.,” Lewis said.  “I think T.O. is a great, great person.  I just love him.  I love his work ethic.   I love everything about him.  So, playing with T.O. is easy.”
Of course, Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, tight end Jason Witten and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett might beg to differ about Owens.
Meanwhile, Lewis said he wouldn’t be concerned about the Cowboys’ shaky locker room chemistry, saying every team needs a strong leader to unify the team.
“I don’t see all of that outside stuff that they’re talking about what goes on in Dallas,” Lewis said.  “I see Dallas as a great opportunity.  It’s always been America’s Team.  It’s just a great place to play football.”
It’s unclear if Dallas is going to go actually pursue Lewis since owner Jerry Jones’ primary stated goal is to sign outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware to a major contract extension.
Lewis expressed interest in New York largely because his former defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is now the Jets’ head coach.  Plus, Dukes brought up the Jets.
“That opportunity by itself looks attractive,” Lewis said.  “That just sounds right.  It’s like, ‘Wow, if something does happen where you’re not back in Baltimore, the Jets wouldn’t be bad.'”
As far as the prospect of staying with the Ravens, where he has played his entire career since being drafted in the first round out of the University of Miami in 1996, Lewis isn’t closing that door.
Yet, he did express disappointment that his contract status hasn’t already been addressed.  The Ravens have never let Lewis get to free agency before during his 13-year tenure in Baltimore.
“The uncomfortable thing about me is that I’m even having this conversation,” Lewis said.  “With everything I’ve given to that city, I’ve always felt that this is one conversation that I would never have and didn’t want to have.  That scenario in Baltimore . . . that’s nothing I don’t love about my city.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean Lewis will necessarily take a pay cut to stay with the Ravens.  Lewis’ seven-year, $50 million contract signed in August 2002 has expired.  He was paid a $6.5 million base salary each of the past two seasons.
Now, Lewis is being represented by agent David Dunn after Roosevelt Barnes and Eugene Parker negotiated his last deal with Baltimore.


  1. Does Ray Lewis know who T.O. is?
    He needs to get his brain checked. I think he’s hit one too many running backs.

  2. I can think of a team in Missouri not named the Rams that has a new GM that likes veteran linebackers, has plenty of cap room, and is in dire need of a middle linebacker, a team leader, and an identity on defense. I’m not saying who it is, but I’d really like to see it happen.

  3. The Jests don’t have the cap space. Brett Favre has them handcuffed until they give him his release.He wants to take his toys and go play in Minnesota where he is going to show Thompson & McCarthy twice this year what a mistake they made.Ray is a Raven and it would change their franchise if he left.

  4. in a world of declining revenues across the board,
    why give a player a max contract when the player is on
    the potential downside of his career.not good business.

  5. I don’t play less so that’s just life, huh? If not a hometown discount, how about showing the Ravens some love for standing by you through that mess you got yourself involved in during the Super Bowl a few years back, Ray? I’m guessing at least half of the teams in the NFL would have cut you the next day, but the Ravens had your back, didn’t they?
    Speaking of having Ray’s back, why does everyone get up in arms when ESPN fawns over Favre, but no one complains when ESPN blows RayRay on a weekly basis during the season?

  6. No teams shows loyalty to players, so why should any player show loyalty to a team?
    If the “it’s a business decision…” stance works for teams when they cut players, it should work for players when they leave their old team behind in order to get paid.

  7. If Dallas was “America’s Team” their fans would be taking over opposing stadiums for road games (like a certain other team’s fanbase does). They don’t. So they aren’t. Hell, they’re not even #1 in the NFL in merchandise sales.

  8. Ray is a 4-3 LB, he disappeared when the team went 3-4 and he was very vocal about it. His leadership would be a big plus but instead of dishing out money for another version of Zach Thomas (another 4-3 LB) Dallas should secure DeMarcus Ware, Chris Canty, Bradie James, and Kevin Burnett.

  9. as a steeler fan, i have to say i’ll miss this goofy bastard. he has always been a reason to get up for the steeler/ravens game. but it will also be a hell of alot easier to beat’em now too. the heart of the ravens defense has just been ripped out. or it will be soon.

  10. I don’t understand how Lewis can preach about “how much he’s given the city” when he’s so willing to give up on it over cash.
    He also said that he hasn’t played less? Excuse me Mr. Lewis, but this is the first year you’ve played in every game in quite some time. You’ve played less, is it just coincidence that you played every game the year your contract expires? I think not…
    I’m a huge Ravens fan, and I would hate to see Lewish go – but if this is how he’s going to be, then nice knowing how great you once were, Ray.

  11. Dan Dizzle says:
    Ray is a 4-3 LB, he disappeared when the team went 3-4 and he was very vocal about it
    I know this is only a message board, but you can’t just make things up. The Ravens ran a 3-4 from 2002-2004 under Mike Nolan.
    Hmmmmmm…. What year did Ray win the Defensive MVP? 2003! (also 2000 and 2009)

  12. I do not think he will be re-signed. He wants too much money.
    We need to sign Suggs!! Not to mention Jim Leonhard and Bart Scot.
    Ray will be missed. He was the heart of the Ravens D. But now, Ed Reed will step up to the role he has been preparing for.
    Steeler fans, I would not count on the Ravens D fading away if Ray does not come back. When Ray was out most of 2005 our D was still in the top 5. Ravens D will always be tuff!! Remember we still have the BEST Safety to ever play the game in Ed Reed!!
    Thanks for the memories Ray Ray.

  13. “I can think of a team in Missouri not named the Rams that has a new GM that likes veteran linebackers, has plenty of cap room, and is in dire need of a middle linebacker, a team leader, and an identity on defense. I’m not saying who it is, but I’d really like to see it happen.”
    I’m with you Matt Hoover- make it happen, Mr. Pioli!

  14. I would hate to see Ray the knife leave the division, he is one of the all time greats, however he needs to check himself when referring to Dallas as Americas team.

  15. “FumbleNuts says:
    February 5th, 2009 at 6:18 pm
    Welcome to Seattle Mr. Lewis!”
    Seattle?? Are you kidding me? Look I’ve heard of hope for one’s team, but this is just stupidity. Why in the world would he want to go live in a state with barely any attraction to it, no coaches he knows, no front office people he knows, and a team that is horrid?

  16. “Good riddance.”
    Yeah that’s what they’ll paint on the floats when they have a parade as he leaves town.
    Dream on jackass.

  17. “If Dallas was “America’s Team” their fans would be taking over opposing stadiums for road games (like a certain other team’s fanbase does).”
    If that certain other team were truly “America’s Team”, they wouldn’t be highly popular only when they’re doing well (which is the case with this certain team).
    “Hell, they’re not even #1 in the NFL in merchandise sales. ”
    Actually, you have no way of knowing that because the Cowboys opted out of the standard agreement with NFL Properties in 2001. They market their own brand and the share that they tender to NFL Properties is a percentage of overall NFLP revenue. That figure is 16%. Anything above that goes straight into Jones’ pocket and doesn’t count toward NFLP merchandise sales figures.
    Bottom line is that Steelers fans are really supportive and buy plenty of Steelers gear when the Steelers are doing well, not so much when they’re not doing so well. The Cowboys are consistent performers in the merchandising world whether they’re good or bad.
    Steelers finally took the #1 spot after they beat the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. First time Steelers junk was ranked #1 since 1980. Not coincidentally, the Steelers were just coming off a Super Bowl victory then, too. And I’m sure that bandwagon deluxe will get cranked up again in ’09, but don’t try to pretend that it’s anything but bandwagoning. The Steelers are not consistent performers in merchandise sales, nowhere near the Cowboys, anyway. I don’t think the Cowboys have been out of the top 3 or 4 in merchandise sales in the last 15 years, no matter how badly they’ve done. Not even through 3 consecutive 5-11 seasons.
    Steelers sold roughly $30 million in merchandise in 2004. The next season, their Super Bowl season, they sold roughly $154 million. It’s really easy to support a successful team, but the true test of a team’s fanbase is the support it gives the team in hard times. The Steelers aren’t America’s Team. They’re America’s Bandwagon. Enjoy the high sales while the wind’s at your back, because when that wind changes, they’ll go back to being buried in the depth chart of NFL merchandise sales as they have many times before. And stop trying to steal other team’s nicknames, there is no true football “nation” except for “Raider Nation” and everyone except wannabes like Steelers and Packers fans knows that “America’s Team” is the Dallas Cowboys. Come up with your own.

  18. I can’t wait to see the Ravens fans turn on their beloved Ray-Ray… I guarantee you the minute he leaves, THEY’LL be the ones telling all those knife jokes. You heard it here first.

  19. momar3000 says:
    Dan Dizzle says:
    Ray is a 4-3 LB, he disappeared when the team went 3-4 and he was very vocal about it
    I know this is only a message board, but you can’t just make things up. The Ravens ran a 3-4 from 2002-2004 under Mike Nolan.
    Hmmmmmm…. What year did Ray win the Defensive MVP? 2003! (also 2000 and 2009)
    Dude, look it up, he was very opposed to the 3-4 defense; mainly because he would get swallowed up by the guards and took a lot more punishment. He stated that he wanted two big DTs in the middle so that he could read and react behind them which is his game. He was right as he suffered a season ending injury ending his pro bowl streak.

  20. Sounds like Frank Burns is checking the internet every 5 minutes for Ray Lewis’ new Steelers jersey…..
    I can’t wait to see all of the Steeler fans who told Ray knife jokes loving him up when he wheres black and gold…..you are going to need someone to replace Foote. Like Rooney would put up that kind of money. Steeler fans just hope he is not in the AFC North anymore…
    If he leaves, there will be no knife jokes here….Ray will be missed.

  21. Stop it, it is a business. You get what you can get. And, by the way, NFL contracts are non-guaranteed. If Ray had blown out both knees the Ravens would’ve kicked him to the curb ASAP. Stop it, this is the man’s last contract, he has to cash in. There is no senior tour in the NFL.
    This reminds me of another old player who was “finished” and “on the downside of his career”. Who wanted more money than his “market value”. A guy the ownership said was not being a good team player by accepting a “fair” deal. That man’s name was Reggie White, and letting him leave was the biggest mistake in franchise history. At least Eagle fans knew it was a mistake, hopefully Ravens fans try and put some pressure on management.

  22. Vox Veritas –
    The Steelers fans “traveling” is a bit overblown. You see them at road games because the Steelers have a national fan base built on the successes of the 70’s and the current resurgence. Plus, the city is one a lot of people in places like Cheyenne, WY / Fargo, ND can relate to – blue collar and unpretentious.
    So, yeah, you’re right that – in a way – it is a bandwagon in the same way the Celtics, Lakers, Red Wings, Yankees, and Sox are.
    But you have to remember that the term was a marketing ploy developed by the Cowboys to sell in the team to the NFL. It was a jingle, a tag line, a point of differentiation in a young league. It’s not like it just “happened”. The whole concept is a fraud designed to sell jerseys. It worked. A brand welcoming fans increases its market along with its market share. But the Cowboys fan base is comprised of many ‘passive’ fans who really don’t watch the games or follow the team. They just bought into good marketing.
    My thing with Pittsburgh is this – I do not believe they support their teams more than anyone else. Football does well in most cities (sellouts in Pitt, Philly, NYG, DC / chatter on sports talk radio) even if the team sucks. But PNC Field is a ghost town, and it’s a damn shame. Beautiful park right downtown. Why do the Pirates get ZERO support? I am not talking low attendance, I am talking about a team that is virtually invisible (no talk, nobody wearing hats + jerseys). And my tax dollars went across the state to build them that stadium!

  23. CaptainFantastik
    Get your comment right, dude. I know it is disapointing that we have a looser GM who only cares about money but not winning and I am going to say as a cowboys fan may be we will end up losing and losing.
    But your comment is absolutely wrong. Cowboys sold more merchandise than any other team. Also as per jersey’s sale there are 4 players in in top 10 jerseys sale.
    We as a fan are very loyal to our team but it is a curse that we have lousy owner/gm.
    Cowboys were given a name Americas Team in 70’s or 80’s when cowboys was on of the proud franchise.
    After Jerry came here and jimmy depareted this team is tearing apart. I dont know what to expect but this team will be americas team forever until we fan support our lobo which is cowboys.

  24. “I can definitely play with T.O.,” Lewis said. “I think T.O. is a great, great person. I just love him. I love his work ethic. I love everything about him. So, playing with T.O. is easy.”
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ha ha ha
    Ray Ray and TO BFF’s 4 ever!!!
    …Ray Ray’s out of the closet!!!

  25. He’s ignoring the bath he’ll take when he goes to sell his multi-million dollar home in Maryland. He could take less money from Baltimore and still come out ahead on the balance sheet.
    Plus, he’s forgetting that everyone outside of Baltimore thinks he’s at least a giant douche and maybe a murderer, too. He probably thinks his routine will play anywhere, but it won’t.

  26. Dear Ray Lewis,
    I for one am very dissapointed in your actions & behavior going through this process. You haven’t played a full season since 06, besides this year, but you know what kiss Baltimore goodbye & kiss that restaurant you have in Baltimore away also. I hope if you do leave you never get another DIME from us hard working indivisuals in Baltimore.

  27. If he does stay in Baltimore, he can have a lucrative post-football career doing just about anything. Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken, John Unitas, Art Donovan, Ordell Braase and many other former Colts and Orioles are legends in this town. They played here, gave full effort, and made their post-sports homes here and still don’t ever have to pay for a meal anywhere in this city. We are good to those who are loyal. Ray can own this city. In any other town, he’s just a hired gun brought in for a season or 2. If he was traded, it would be viewed as not his choice. If he goes as FA, he will be ending his relationship w/just about the only city in America that doesn’t see him as a murderer. He’s a great football player, one of the best ever – but he makes very poor personal and business decisions. It will be interesting to watch. If he leaves, I’ll still view him as the soul of the franchise during his tenure here. Great player, great guy in the community, but never a rocket scientist. But, not too many scientists hit like that.

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