Baltimore, MD, United States (4E Sports) – Ray Lewis, one of the best linebackers in NFL history, has announced that he will retire after the Baltimore Ravens’ playoff encounter against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium, putting an end to a storied 17-year career.
“For me, today, I told my team that this would be my last ride. I told them I just felt so much peace in where I am with my decision because of everything I’ve done in this league,” Lewis said in a statement.
“There’s no accolade that I don’t have individually but I’ve never played the game for individual stats. I’ve only played the game to make my team be a better team,” he added.
Lewis, a seven-time All-Pro and 12-time Pro Bowl selection, did not say if he would play Sunday but he confirmed that he’s physically ready to take the field.
A two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and MVP of Super Bowl XXXV, Lewis was activated last month but hasn’t played in a game since he tore his triceps during a Week 6 win over the Dallas Cowboys.
Lewis was drafted by the Ravens in the first round of the 1996 NFL Draft and started 227 games for the team. Since 2001 when tackles statistics became available, he had a total of 1,336.
“I can’t picture Baltimore without him,” Ravens running back Ray Rice later said.
“It’s amazing and it’s sad all at the same time,” added Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs.
Lewis’ announcement also created a buzz on Twitter, with several active and retired players taking time to comment on his career.
“Had to watch Big Ray announce his retirement…it has been amazing to play with him…We need to take care of business for him and our city,” Ravens wideout Torrey Smith posted.
“Just heard that the G.O.A.T Ray Lewis plans on retiring after this season words can’t explain the impact he’s had on my career and the game,” linebacker Kelvin Sheppard of the Buffalo Bills said.
“Can’t believe Ray hanging it up! Straight beast and someone that I’ve learned sooo much from! Def going to miss watching him. #respect,” Bills linebacker Arthur Moats said.
“Just heard Ray Lewis is retiring. Farewell to one of the greatest and most inspirational players of all time. You will be missed #salute,” Jacksonville Jaguars outside linebacker
Russell Allen tweeted.