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RAY LEWIS RETIRES AFTER THIS SEASON
Mon, 07 Jan 2013 09:39 PM EST

Ray Lewis spent 17 seasons instilling fear in his opponents while serving as an inspirational leader for the Ravens.

Now he’s poised and keen to become a fulltime dad.

Lewis announced he will end his brilliant NFL career after the Baltimore Ravens complete their 2013 playoff run.

Lewis has been sidelined since Oct. 14 with a torn right triceps.

”Everything that starts has an end,” the 37-year-old Lewis announced. ”For me, today, I told my team this will be my last ride.”

Lewis will move away from the game because he wants to spend more time with his boys. While working to return from his injury, Lewis watched two of his boys play on the same high school football team in Florida. He’s going to see Ray Lewis III perform as a freshman next year for the University of Miami, where the elder Lewis starred before the Ravens selected him in the 1st round of the 1996 draft.

”God is calling,” Lewis related. ”My kids have made the ultimate sacrifice for their father for 17 years. I don’t want to see them doing that no more. I’ve done what I wanted to do in this business, and now it’s my turn to give them something back.”

That’s the reason why Lewis will pull off his No. 52 uniform for the last time after the Baltimore Ravens lose or claim their 2nd Super Bowl title.

Lewis was the AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2000, the same season he was voted Super Bowl MVP following Baltimore’s 34-7 rout of the N.Y Giants. Lewis was also Defensive Player of the Year in 2003, and is the only player in NFL history with at least 40 career sacks and 30 interceptions. Baseball lines

Lewis has been with the Ravens since they moved from Cleveland. After being drafted 26th overall in Baltimore’s first draft, Lewis changed into a fixture at middle linebacker – and a much loved figure in Baltimore Ravens.

Hundreds of games later, he’s prepared to call it a career.

”I’ll make this last run with this team, and I may give them everything I’ve got,” he revealed. ”When it ends, it ends. But I didn’t come back for it to finish in the first round.”

Lewis is the key figure in a defense which has long carried a reputation for being unfriendly, unyielding and downright nasty. He led the Baltimore Ravens in tackles in 14 of his 17 seasons, the exceptions being those years in which he missed significant time with injuries (2002, 2005 and 2012).

When Lewis tore his triceps against Dallas Cowboys, it was feared he was done for the season. But he’d have none of that.

”From the time I got hurt, everything I’ve done up to this point has been to get back with my team to make another run at the Lombardi (Trophy),” he revealed.

Lewis could have made the announcement in the offseason.

”I think my fans, my city, I believe they deserved for me to just not walk away,” he said. ”We all get to enjoy what Sunday will feel just like, realizing that this can be the last time 52 plays in a uniform in Ravens stadium.”


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