Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens, former University of Miami linebacker, to retire

BALTIMORE - Ray Lewis has announced that this is his last season.

Lewis' announcement came during Wednesday's media availability meant for playoff preparation updates. It was one of a handful of times the star linebacker has spoken to the media since a triceps injury in October that kept him sidelined.

"This will be my last ride," Lewis said.

Lewis expects to play in the Sunday wild-card game against the Indianapolis Colts. It could be the last game he plays at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore.

The 37-year-old middle inside linebacker (MIKE) started in six games before his injury and had a total of 57 tackles. Had he not been injured and continued to play at the same pace/caliber, he would have been on pace to again lead the team in that tackles column of the statistical breakdown for the regular season.
 
Lewis has been tapped for the Pro Bowl 13 times in his career, and he was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and 2003. He was also the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV (2000).

Whether in the locker room or through a dance before the game, Lewis is known for his ability to get others motivated. It's a skill that's arguably as valuable as his on-field ability. Those who had never witnessed his skill as a speaker got a glimpse at the September funeral of late Ravens owner Art Modell .
 
Lewis was close to Modell, and spoke of him as a father figure. He lauds the late owner for taking a chance on him when other owner's would have folded their cards.

"Modell had a vision to change the way people thought about opportunities in life," Lewis said at Modell's funeral. "...Without Mr. Modell's vision there is no Ravens."

Without Modell, there would have been no Ray Lewis.

Lewis was Baltimore's second pick in the first round of the 1996 draft. It was months after the NFL approved the team's arrival in Baltimore -- a tense situation in which Modell packed up his Cleveland franchise and relocated it to the Charm City.

Lewis is the league's active career tackles leader and is one of two to reach the 2,000 tackle milestone. The other is London Fletcher of the Washington Redskins.

Lewis starred at the University of Miami. According to hurricanesports.com ,  bitly link: http://bit.ly/Zcv5lq, In his three years as a member of the Hurricanes, Lewis set numerous defensive records that have stood the test of time. A unanimous first-team All-BIG EAST selection, Lewis owns the top two program marks for total tackles in a season (160 in 1995, 152 in 1994). He earned AP All-American honors and was a finalist for the Butkus Award in his final season at Miami.

The wptv.com web team contributed to this report

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