I must admit this is a very difficult article to write as at heart I am and will forever be a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan.
It’s very hard for me to say anything nice about the team (Ravens) that Art Modell stole right from under our noses and broke the hearts of an entire city.
LeBron James leaving Cleveland was a speck of dust compared to “The Decision” Art Modell made to relocate the Browns to Baltimore, who was then introduced to the league as the Baltimore Ravens.
In a bittersweet move that allowed an expansion team of sorts, while keeping the history of past marks before the relocation to Baltimore, the league allowed the city of Cleveland to retain the Browns name.
That being said, there’s no doubt that Ray Lewis will go down as the best linebacker to ever play in the NFL.
His marks in Baltimore will be difficult to match, but more so will be his dedication to the team on the field and in the locker room, where he was the heartbeat of the Ravens. That sort of leadership is not so easily replaced and the Ravens, while appreciative of everything he’s done for the organization, may never find another player to match the intensity he brought to the field.
Ray Lewis’ final regular season was marred by injuries; he only played in six games. Despite the injuries, he still managed to put up 44 tackles and a sack, just another example of his ferocious demeanor and play on the field.
Ray’s career numbers will also be a hard act for any player in Baltimore to follow. He retires with 1,573 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 31 interceptions for 503 yards, and 3 touchdowns. He also forced 19 fumbles while recovering 20 over his career.
There’s very little doubt that Ray Lewis is going to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio after the five year wait period expires. There’s very little doubt that his jersey will be cemented in the rafters at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. There’s also no doubt that certain off-field actions that has placed plenty of ridicule upon him, perhaps deserved, could be enough to delay his entry into the Hall Of Fame.
One thing is clear, whether you love or hate him for what transpired off the field, there’s no denying his legendary accomplishments on the field and in the locker room. Yes, this is coming from a die-hard Browns fan, but one who is also a fan of the game.
It’s time to give respect where it’s rightfully due; I look forward to the day Ray Lewis is added amongst the other legends in Canton. He deserves it!