Ray Lewis announced to ‘the world’ on Wednesday that he will hang up his cleats at the end of this season – whenever that might happen for the Ravens. Lewis hasn’t played a game since he tore his triceps in Week 6. It’s unclear if he will take the field at all against the Colts.
While most in Baltimore are wiping their tears with their Joe Flacco jerseys whimpering, ‘Say it ain’t so, Ray,’ I for one will not miss Ray Lewis. Lewis was (and kind of still is) a beast of an ILB… probably one of the best to play the game. He is a huge part why the Steelers rivalry is what it is today. Those kinds of things deserve recognition and respect. While I admire the player, it is nearly impossible to respect the man.
Early in Lewis’ career, he dodged a bullet… or was it a knife? You can go look up the details of the murder trail and the fallout from that circus. What has always bugged the hell out of me about Lewis are the circumstances surrounding the murder, the following season, and then the elevation of a man who just a few short months ago was on trial for being involved in the murder of a young man. I don’t think there was ever more a time that I was spitting venom when Lewis was awarded the Super Bowl MVP within the year following the trial. I still don’t understand after all these years how after a $250k fine (for substance abuse) all was forgiven with the NFL. Grant it, the professional conduct rules weren’t really in existence at that time. But the man was on trial for being involved in a murder. He plea bargained in order to avoid serious jail time. He obstructed justice by lying to police. Where is that white suit? And why hasn’t any other suspects ever been prosecuted? It stinks more than T-Sizzles jock strap, and it just makes it near impossible for me to respect the man that is Ray Lewis.
He will become a hall of famer. He will probably become a coach somewhere. I doubt those in my lifetime will ever NOT see Ray Lewis continue to be a presence in the NFL. Before all of you ‘Rapelisberger’ folks start squaking – I don’t condone the circumstances around Ben and his inability to know what ‘no’ means. But let’s be clear – Roethlisberger didn’t go on trial. He was slammed by the Commish and the NFL. He was suspended by his team. Many in Steeler Nation were angry and hurt. Many still are. For all intents and purposes, Ben ‘served his time’ through the purgatory that is the media’s microscope. All of this for a guy who was not found guilty and never even went to trial. Lewis never ‘served time.’ He entered the following season with nothing against him. He went to the Super Bowl. He was named MVP and elevated as an elite player who overcame adversity. Adversity? What about the family of the murdered man? I’m sure the daughter of the man who was killed would rather have a dad than the civil settlement that Lewis paid up.
Lewis may be done after 2012. His legacy of being an amazing ILB will live on in Canton some years from now. But it’s his legacy of being a lying sack of crap and mind boggling ability for the NFL and media to ‘forget’ that will forever sit uneasy with me. So long Lewis. I’d wish you the best of luck, but you’ve already had it.