For a week when they escaped a tight game against the Cowboys with a 31-29 victory, the Ravens sure are getting plenty of bad news today. First was the news that cornerback Lardarius Webb tore his ACL and is out for the year, and now, Ray Lewis – the heart of everything the Ravens’ vaunted defense does – has a torn triceps muscle and is out for the season himself. What’s more, Lewis is 37 years old – plenty are wondering if his season prematurely ending means his career will, too.
First things, first, though: these are devastating blows to the Ravens’ defense. Coupled with Terrell Suggs being sidelined indefinitely as he recovers from a partial Achilles tear, and the Ravens’ defense will be without three different top-flight performers. It’s nearly impossible for any defense, no matter how good, to sustain those types of losses, so it might be time to scale back expectations for what the Ravens could accomplish this season.
If that injury ends Lewis’s career, though: that would be a rough way to end one of football’s great careers. Regardless of what one thinks of Lewis off the field, on it he’s one of the best who’s ever played, and is still going at a high level today. And if Lewis decides to hang it up and Ed Reed, who contemplates retirement every offseason, finally decides that 2012 will be his last in a Ravens uniform, it’ll be time for some major retooling in Baltimore.
That’s all hypothetical, though. And if we had to guess, we’d say Lewis will be motivated by a Mariano-Rivera-esque pride that won’t allow him to yield the remainder of his career to the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. We doubt he’s played his last NFL game. He’s played his last one this season, though, and even if his injury doesn’t mean anything beyond that, it certainly means the Ravens will have to do some reshuffling in the here and now. Whether it’s Jameel McClain or Dannell Ellerbe who takes Lewis’ spot… no pressure, guys.