Ray's announcement sparks teammates for playoffs

Ray's announcement sparks teammates for playoffs
January 2, 2013, 3:30 pm
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Ravens motivated to send Ray Lewis into retirement as a champion

There’s no question that the Ravens were going to bring plenty of emotion into Sunday’s Wild Card playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Now, the Ravens will have just a little bit more.

Ray Lewis told his Baltimore teammates Wednesday that he’ll retire after this season. In other words, if the Ravens lose Sunday, the future Hall of Famer’s career will come to an end. Lewis said he will take the field Sunday after missing nearly three months (torn triceps), and his teammates want him to play a little longer.

“It’s going to [add] even more fuel to the fire,” defensive lineman Arthur Jones said. “I’m more motivated than ever right now.”

The motivation to win hasn’t changed. But there’s no question now that the Ravens want to send Lewis off with a second Super Bowl trophy. They want him to go out in style. 

“He loves the position he’s in,” said teammate Bernard Pollard. “He enjoys what’s going on. We got to go to battle for that. We need to get to Louisiana [site of the Super Bowl] for him.”

The emotion caused by Lewis’ announcement gives the Ravens some extra push heading into Sunday’s game.

It wasn’t hard to see how much the thought of losing Lewis affected the players. Ray Rice, always a good talker and very happy, seemed on the verge of tears several times when speaking with the media Wednesday.

Rice said he’s always loved playing and competing with Lewis and made it clear that he doesn’t want Sunday to be the final time they walk out on to that field together.

“I don’t want it to be the last time I play with him,” said Ray Rice. “I want to win to keep it [going] as long as possible. We want to win on Sunday.”

Rice also talked about how emotional it will be for him to watch Lewis come out of the tunnel before the game. "That moment," he said, "is going to be tough to deal with.

“The emotion’s going to be too rough to even think about because Baltimore is Ray Lewis, and when he comes out of that tunnel, everyone’s electrified,” Rice said. “The other side will know, trust me. The mutual respect the other team’s going to have, it’s going to be something that is just going to be crazy.”