On Monday, Ray Lewis made his first public appearance in Baltimore since doing his patented squirrel dance with the Lombardi Trophy in front of 90,000+ screaming fans at M&T Bank Stadium during the Ravens victory parade.
The image of Lewis walking out of the tunnel one last time was all any Ravens fan could have asked for when they heard of Lewis’ intentions to retire after the postseason. Lewis stretched his career out as long as possible, and while the Ravens are preparing for life without Lewis, the greatest linebacker of all time is preparing for life after football.
“Life is good,” Lewis said at the premiere event for the unveiling of the Ravens Championship DVD put together by NFL Films. “I’m spending a lot of time with the family, I’m spending a lot of time with the kids.”
Lewis has spent every offseason working on a new training regimen to mold his body to adapt to the ever-changing NFL. Lewis played 17 seasons at a high level, but in retirement, he’s just taking time to kick his feet up and relax for once.
“I’ve just been relaxing a lot,” Lewis said. “I’m really soaking up the moment.”
The DVD premiere was one of the first events Lewis has attended without being on the Ravens roster. Admittedly for Lewis, it’s a weird feeling.
“Yeah, I think in a lot of ways,” he said. “Honestly, I guess there is no pressure because every year is a new year. Every offseason, you’re always gearing up for something. I guess for me now, I’m gear up for business, I’m gearing up for life, and I’m gearing up for kids. The pressure meter is down a little bit, that’s one of the biggest differences.”
In the coming years, fans will notice a difference in the appearance of M&T Bank Stadium. Aside from the planned $35 million investment the Ravens are making for a facelift to their already beautiful stadium, Lewis’ presence will be embodied to pay tribute to the ultimate franchise player.
Team owner Steve Bisciotti had said he plans to erect a statue for Lewis outside of the stadium within “a year or two.” Lewis has not spoken to Bisciotti about the memorial.
“It’s probably one of the most humbling things you’ll ever hear for someone to do somethign like that,” Lewis said. “I haven’t talked to [Bisciotti] about it at all actually.”