Make no mistake about it, free agency lures Ray Lewis because it feeds his ego. Lewis wants to be wanted. He’s a Cheap Trick song and come 12:01 am on Friday, Lewis’ ipod may as well be playing I Want You to Want Me.
Lewis knows what he has in Baltimore. He’s the team leader and he has the adoration of the Ravens’ fan base. He also has what is believed to be $12 million in guarantees sitting on a conference room table somewhere within the walls of the castle that sits at One Winning Drive.
But I guess that isn’t enough – at least not for now.
Back at the end of November, Lewis was asked about his pending status as a free agent.
"If the season ends and I’m a totally free agent, for the first time in my life I will be totally free," he said. "You know what that feels like for a man? It’s one thing to deal with a contract. It’s one thing to deal with life without a contract. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel to make my own decision."
Gee the shackles of a recently expired $50 million contract sure can strap a man’s freedom now can’t they?
Well we will all soon learn exactly what rewards freedom will afford Lewis. But as the dawn of free agency creeps up on us, it begs a few interesting questions that those emotionally detached from the situation have to define as compelling.
What if at the end of the day Lewis comes crawling back to the Ravens, wanting that $12 million and it isn’t there or it isn’t much more than the guaranteed money given to Scott? Could Lewis suck it up, check his ego at the door and continue to lead and play the way he did in 2008?
Add it all up and it is a very compelling saga that could have a happy ending for Ravens fans or it could become a red letter day for Baltimore comparable to the day Johnny Unitas left the horseshoe behind for a lightning bolt.
Clearly one thing is certain – it will be dramatic as most things are with Ray Lewis when he’s busy off the field.
Ravens fans this is your captain for Plight No. 52 speaking.
We are expected some turbulence ahead so please fasten your seatbelt.