The ink hasn't been put on his retirement papers yet, but the Baltimore Ravens are wasting no time in honoring middle linebacker Ray Lewis. Reports from Baltimore indicate that a statue honoring the 17-season pro will be erected outside M&T Bank Stadium, forever immortalizing the All Pro.
It's rare a player becomes synonymous with a franchise -- but in the case of Lewis, it's apropos. The only player in team history to play every year since the Ravens arrived in Baltimore, it was assured that owner Steve Bisciotti would ensure his franchise honored Lewis appropriately, though few thought it would happen so soon. Talking to ESPN's Jamison Hemsley, he made it clear that his organization would enshrine him in bronze:
"I think he set himself apart in Baltimore sports history, and we will certainly look into it and I would not be surprised if there is one in the next year or two."
The Baltimore Ravens now enter uncharted waters -- beginning a season without Lewis as team leader. General manager Ozzie Newsome will attempt to find a way to repeat his team's Super Bowl XLVII victory. With questions surrounding their quarterback position, and whether veteran safety Ed Reed will return. While the rest of the organization is in flux, it appears Lewis will always be a staunch reminder of what the team built -- even if he's in bronze, and not in the huddle.