Originally written on StraitPinkie.com  |  Last updated 1/2/13

MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 18: Linebacker Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens looks on from the sidelines against the Minnesota Vikings during NFL action at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on October 18, 2009 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the Ravens 33-31. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Ray Lewis has announced that he will retire after this season. The Baltimore Ravens will be playing the Indianapolis Colts this weekend in the wild card round of the playoffs. According to the Associated Press Lewis made the announcement to his teammates today. “This will be my last ride. Everything I’ve done is to make another run at the Lombardi,” Ray Lewis said today.  Lewis who is 37 years old had been dealing with an injury to his triceps he sustained during the Week 6 game against the Cowboys. Ray has been listed as active since last month, but has not played since the Cowboys game. With his announcement of retirement at the end of the season, I am guessing Ray will be out there on the field at M&T Bank Stadium when the Ravens face the Colts. Raven’s teammate Ray Rice was quoted as saying “I can’t picture Baltimore without him.” Lewis was not just the voice of the defense, but he was the face of the franchise since he came into the NFL back in 1996. The Ravens is the only team that Lewis has played for since coming into the league when he was drafted from the University of Miami. Lewis was named the Super Bowl XXXV MVP, when the Ravens beat the New York Giants 34-7 back in 2001. Ray has been a First Team All-Pro seven times and named to the Pro Bowl thirteen times. He was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice in 2000 and 2003. Over his great career Lewis has had 41.5 sacks, 31 interceptions, and 3 touchdowns. Lewis has always taken it upon himself to put rookies and younger players under his wing and guide them to be able to play at a higher level. Lewis has helped such players as Ray Rice and Ed Reed. The Ravens and the NFL will definitely miss Ray Lewis next year and no one ever will ever replace his emotion, talent, and spirit he brought each and every Sunday. His retirement announcement could be a motivational lift for the Ravens as they try to make it to Super Bowl XLVII. One thing for sure is that now more than ever all eyes will be on number 52 to see what he does since this will be his last season playing linebacker for the Ravens.
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