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Ray Lewis' injury could (and probably should) end his career

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Is that it for the future Hall of Famer?

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire

The Baltimore Ravens aren't losing their best defensive player but perhaps their most valuable. Ray Lewis suffered a complete tear of his triceps in Sunday's win over the Cowboys and will miss the rest of the season. Devastating news for a Ravens defense who lost Lardarius Webb for the season in the same game (and, for a brief time, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata).

The inevitable question is whether we've seen the last of Ray Lewis in the NFL period.

It's hard to imagine a Ravens defense without Lewis patrolling the middle of the field. He's been in the league for 17 years and at 37 he's one of the oldest players in the league, a 1996 draft pick.

His play was already declining. Generally age and injury rehab aren't a good combination for getting better. Add in that Lewis had to lose weight before this season to keep some of his speed and this injury has the look of a career-ender. It's probably best for everyone involved if it ends like this so that the Ravens aren't forced to decide next year whether to cut their Hall of Fame linebacker. Rehabbing an injury at age 37 isn't the same as doing it at age 22.

If it's the end it's too bad that Lewis couldn't go out on his own terms. There's more to say on this in the coming days but there are only a few active players who are bigger locks for the Hall of Fame than him. He's had an immeasurable impact not only on the Ravens but the rest of the league as well.