Baltimore is officially losing its adopted son.
Ray Lewis is likely to keep a residence in Baltimore but at the conclusion of this season, he’ll retire from the NFL after 17 seasons and retreat to his home state of Florida as he does every offseason. This time, Lewis won’t be back for a while.
Even though he believes he has plenty of football left in his body, Lewis made a promise to his son and his other five children to be more involved in their lives. This is especially important to Lewis, who didn’t really have a father growing up. His oldest child, Ray Lewis III, has accepted a scholarship to his father’s alma mater, the University of Miami, and Lewis will be there watching his son grow as a football player – and as a man.
Once Lewis is gone, how will he be remembered? Sure, he’ll be inducted into the Hall of Fame and likely will appear on our televisions on a routine basis, but what about in Baltimore?
There is no doubt that Lewis will be the only player in Ravens history to wear the #52 jersey and his name will be inscribed into the Ravens ring of honor, but Lewis is frankly bigger than that.
I’m talking bigger than Johnny Unitas.
Unitas has a statue and his own plaza named after him at M&T Bank Stadium, A lot of exposure he receives was for the player he was but more was to give old Baltimore Colts fans a sense of history and identity with their favorite team. Ray Lewis IS the Baltimore Ravens, has meant more to his team than possibly any other player in history and hopefully even more will be done for him.
A statue? Definitely. A plaza? That’s nice. But what about a scoreboard and a larger game clock? He was always the one asking, “What time is it?”
Just close your eyes and think about the first pose that comes to mind for Lewis’ statue, chance are it’ll come from his “squirrel” dance during player introductions.
Clearly, the best location for the statue would be at the end of the tunnel near Section 117, but that’s highly unlikely. Maybe they would put his statue on wheels and push it out to the tunnel for players to run past during pre game introductions.
It’s fitting – Lewis was pre game introductions.
In time, these questions will be answered. If the Ravens gave so much exposure to Johnny Unitas, there is no doubt that more will be given to Lewis.
Like I said before, he IS the Baltimore Ravens.