Ray Lewis Says No to Retirement, Will Return For 17th Season

Middle Linebackers don’t last 17 years in the NFL.

Especially not playing at a high level.  Ray Lewis is past his prime, but he is still better than 90% of the linebackers in the NFL.  He had hinted he was thinking about retirement, but Ray Lewis isn’t going to stop playing football until they drag him off the field.

“Is this my last time as a Raven? Absolutely not,” Lewis said after a 23-20 loss to New England. “Let me answer that question before somebody asks me. Absolutely not. It’s just too much. Life offers too much. Every time you step on this field, it’s a true blessing.”

Still, Lewis has set a new standard for longevity among middle linebackers. Mike Singletary retired after 12 seasons before his play declined. Jack Lambert walked away after 11 years because of a severe toe injury. And Dick Butkus stopped after nine seasons because of multiple knee injuries.

“For us to be here now, I’m hungry again and I’m thirsty again,” Lewis said. “Every time you go through something like this, it has to drive you. I truly believe that’s the only thing that makes people great. It’s not the ones who always winning that people remember. It’s the ones who go through tough times.”

The window isn’t necessarily closing for the Ravens, they have a lot young players, but the window is closing on Lewis.

Has to be tough to know you were one dropped pass from the Super Bowl and one missed FG from having an opportunity to continue to compete for that spot in the Super Bowl.

But knowing Ray Lewis he will come back stronger than ever.