The way Ray Lewis has played in two playoff games -- his first action since tearing his triceps Oct. 14 -- it hasn't given him pause when it comes to his future.
Lewis announced he’d be retiring after his 17 season before the Ravens’ 24-9 wild-card playoff victory vs. the Indianapolis Colts. In that game, he had a game-high 13 tackles, 1 for loss, and 1 broken up pass that should've been intercepted.
In last week’s 38-35 divisional playoff victory at the Denver Broncos, Lewis had a game-high 17 tackles, 1 for a loss.
He has played every snap in both games, 184 total, wearing a brace on his right arm after surgery on his triceps in October. He reiterated his need to be there for his sons, one of whom is going to the University of Miami in the fall on a football scholarship, still outweighs his desire to continue playing.
“I never slowed down to really think about, ‘Oh, will you come back?' Nah, I can't come back,” Lewis said. “My kids are calling for Daddy. It's a great reward to see the sacrifice my babies have made for me, and it's time that I sacrifice for them.”
While Lewis was out, he attended film sessions and encouraged teammates from the sideline. But the emotional lift he has given them is hard to quantify.
The stats he’s compiling on the field are undeniable, even if he isn't as great as he once was. Lewis was overwhelmed with emotion after the comeback victory in Denver as Justin Tucker kicked the winning field goal from 47 yards. He knelt on the sideline in a long embrace with running back Ray Rice.
“I'm proud that the ride is still going,” Lewis said. “And I look at my teammates, and after the Denver game me and Ray just sat there and we hugged on the field. He grabbed me kind of hard, and I was kind of telling him to let me go but it's something that it's just special.”