Ray Lewis announced that he will retire at the end of the 2013 season, prompting praise and reflection from around the league, including from his former coach, Chuck Pagano.
Ray Lewis stole all the NFL headlines on Wednesday when he announced that he would retire after the 2013 postseason. Lewis told his teammates "this is my last ride" and the team made the news public shortly thereafter.
Longform: Ray Lewis, the influence of an athlete
The Ravens host the Colts, former inhabitants of Baltimore, on Sunday in the NFL's Wild Card weekend. Unless the Bengals somehow advance to the AFC Championship game, it will be Lewis's last home game. After spending most of the season out with a torn triceps, Lewis was activated for the postseason but he has not told teammates whether he'll be ready to go on Sunday.
News of Lewis' retirement came down right as Chuck Pagano took the podium in Indianapolis to discuss this week's game in Baltimore. Pagano coached Lewis with Ravens and heaped praise upon the first ballot Hall of Famer:
Pagano on Ray Lewis: Anybody who's had the chance to be around Ray will cherish that for the rest of their lives. #Colts— George Bremer (@gmbremer) January 2, 2013
Pagano: Ray Lewis will "ignite and incite a riot to so to speak and there will be a ton of energy on that football team"— Will Brinson (@willbrinson) January 2, 2013
The announcement obviously adds yet another storyline to what was already an intriguing Wild Card matchup. The connections between the Colts, Ravens, and the city of Baltimore are abundant, and to have, arguably, the city's greatest football player suiting up for the last time in front of the home crowd will make for an dramatic Sunday afternoon.