Baltimore Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis announced on Wednesday that he plans to retire at the end of the season. Since the announcement, fans everywhere have weighed in with their reactions, memories and expressions of gratitude.
“I love Ray and he has been my favorite player and will continue to be my favorite player,” Thomas Hamblin wrote on Severna Park Patch’s Facebook. “But I love his leadership ability to the team and [he's] a great role model. He is just not performing the way he has. It is his time. Thanks for all he has done!! I wish him all the best!!”
Lewis, the NFL’s longest tenured defensive player to play with his original team, will arguably go down in history as one of the greatest middle linebackers of all time. According to the Baltimore Sun, in his 17 seasons Lewis was named to 13 Pro Bowls, named an Associated Press All-Pro 10 times, and earned NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors twice.
Lewis announced his retirement to the team first, and then at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon. Lewis cited more time with his family as a reason for his retirement.
“Heartbroken, but knew it was coming because he said he'd be with his son during his college football ... and that begins this year,” Kerry Hellmann Brandt wrote. “Still so, so sad! I may wear my Ray jersey all week!”
The announcement comes on the cusp of the Ravens first playoff game of the season. Baltimore will host the Indianapolis Colts at M&T Bank Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m., which will most likely be Lewis’ last home game.
“Knew it was coming, but sad. He's a great player. But, maybe he will become a coach,” Nicole Parsons wrote.
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