More often than not, when you think of NFL’s Baltimore Ravens, Ray Lewis comes to mind. Perhaps that’s because Ray goes back to the Raven’s 1996 Inaugural Season. The two have had a serious relationship for thirteen years.
So why are so many Ravens fans worried?
Newsday report that as of February 27, 2009 Ray Lewis will become a free agent. Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti has already publicly indicated that he won’t be franchising Ray. He’s also indicated there will be no pressure upon Raven’s General Manager Ozzie Newsome to overspend by keeping him. WJZ TV in Baltimore reports that Biscotti is hoping for a “hometown discount.”
Hometown discount? Give me a break.
Ray is now 33, and had dedicated his professional career to the Ravens. With impressive stats which include 1637 tackles, 33.5 sacks, and 28 interceptions, his defensive skills are amazing. Not only is he a ten time Pro-Bowler, but has been a two time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He was also the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV.
Ray is known to be one of the most charitable players, with his Ray Lewis Foundation. Making special appearance and actively working for the greater good. Perhaps it’s what you don’t see on the big screen or in the newspapers that makes him so wonderful.
Having had the chance to sit behind the Raven’s bench front row at many games, I can tell you first hand Ray Lewis pumps up this team. He is a driving force to be reckoned with. Full of energy, motivating other players, and his “never say never” attitude is a power all it’s own. Just to watch him in action is really something. To experience this for four quarters of every game is truly amazing. This man not only loves football, he loves the Ravens. Finger injuries, broken wrists, and leg injuries to name a few have never kept him from bouncing back and having a great season.
Just the notion that the Ravens would allow him to take a better offer is ludicrous. Many fans I’ve talked to are outraged that Ray’s contract wasn’t renewed a year in advance like it usually is.
Donald Booker from Parkville, MD states, “It’s like a slap in the face. Ray has done so much to make the Ravens what they are. The notion they could watch him walk away is insane.”
Wayne Schafer of Rosedale, MD says, “If Bisciotti asked all the fans in Baltimore to contributed one dollar towards keeping Ray, he’d have the extra money right there.”
D.J. McLain says, ” If Ray does walk away, it’s only because he deserves the money. He’s worth every penny and then some. I can’t believe they are trying to get a discount when he does so much for the team. Truly on the Ravens it will look bad. It’s another sign of contributing your whole career to a corporation just to have them not reward your loyalty.”
That seems to be the concensus around Baltimore. Will fans continue to go to the games to see the Ravens without Ray?
Cindy Fahnestock of Baltimore City, MD states, “I will definitely boycott the Ravens if they let Ray walk. It might sound stupid not to support your home team but one must realize It would just not be the same seeing him play for someone else. He made them, he IS the Ravens.”