One Last Dance

Last Dance

Nobody does it better

Today’s game will be 150% on the emotion meter.

It would have been awesome enough to see former Ravens Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano return to the Purple Vault as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, fresh off a scary, but successful battle against leukemia, but even that remarkable event has been superseded by the imminent retirement of Mr. Raven, Ray Lewis. 

Both will make this an unforgettable event.

Regardless of how one feels about seeing the old horseshoes back in town (there are still tons of negative feelings in Baltimore), a fan can’t help but be happy for Pagano and his courageous and successful battle against cancer.  I, for one, will cheer when Bruce Cunningham introduces “Chuck Pagano and the Indianapolis Colts.”

And then I, along with 71,000 others, will wait for the main pre-game event.

Ray Lewis squirrel dancing for the last time at M&T Bank.

It seems inconceivable and, for some, it truly is.  We’ve never known the Ravens without Ray Lewis.  Baltimore Ravens = Ray Lewis.  Ray Lewis = Baltimore Ravens.  Done.

One thing that has amazed me over this week is the outpouring, both local and national, of positive vibes concerning the career and contributions of Ray Allen Lewis II. Scarcely a Sports Center or Highlights broadcast goes by without at least a mention of Ray and what he has meant to the League.  His press conference and his quotes have been played over and over.  You hear them on ESPN Radio, Fox, and CBS Radio.

Earlier Tony Lombardi penned a column stating that not only will there never be another Ray Lewis in the NFL, but, more importantly and sadly, the NFL will simply not allow it to happen.  Roger Goodell, in spite of his kind words on Ray’s contributions to the league and hopefully lifting the Lombardi trophy, will never allow another player to eclipse “The Shield” like Ray has.

But none of this is really a surprise.  Ray tipped his hand ‘way back in the summer when he told a cable interviewer that, once his son started college, he wanted to spend time cheerleading him from the sidelines.  No double duty for Ray.  Ray II did not want to play ball once Ray III started at “The U.”

So I think Ray has had this scripted for quite some time.

I plan on getting into the Vault early.  Watch Ray come skipping on the field and slam-banging his helmet on the field as he always does, to start pre-game warm ups.  At the end, watching him exhort his teammates one more time to seize the moment, seize the day, and win the game.

Then, at the end of the player introductions, Ray Lewis’ farewell to his fans and the NFL nation.

There won’t be a dry eye in the house.

One Last Dance.

Nobody Does Better.

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