Four days before the Baltimore Ravens opening round playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts, Ray Lewis announced that he was retiring after the season. The news cued an onslaught of praise upon praise upon praise, with Lewis lapping up the rewards of 17 years of tackles and dancing and preaching. And now that he’s in the Super Bowl, retiring off into the sunset, it’s all gone to plan.
ProFootballTalk transcribed a part of an interview he did during a press conference Wednesday, and Lewis all but admitted that yes, the timing of his retirement was well-calculated: he wanted to bask in his own glory for a bit while he was still playing.
“I’ve watched many people on how they retire, and when they retire,” Lewis said. “I had not just an obligation to myself, but I had an obligation to my teammates and I had an obligation to my city – that I did not want to end the season and then say, ‘I’m gone.’ I’ve invested too much time into Baltimore, into my teammates and into the organization to ever just walk out like that.
“I believe that you should give everybody a fair chance to say their goodbyes. Playing that last game in Baltimore, announcing it the way I did, and knowing that it would be my last ride. Knowing that it would be my last time in M&T [Bank Stadium], it was one of the most amazing feelings ever. Just being able to appreciate that moment and not get to the end of the season – whenever the road stops – and say, ‘Oh, I’m done. I’m never coming back again.’
“I would have robbed a lot of people of those last goodbyes for me and them. That is why I did it that way.”
You get to say goodbye to Ray. You get to thank him for his great work. You get to send him off into the sunset. This is your moment. Your glory. Your memory. You get to touch his hand while he takes a victory lap around M&T Bank Stadium and soaks in the standing ovation. He “would have robbed” you had he not done that. This isn’t about Ray Lewis. It’s about you. So selfless. What a guy.