Lewis is signed with the Ravens through 2015 and several people close to him Monday said that they would be surprised if the ultra competitive linebacker went out on this note. He had dropped about 20 pounds before the season to get down to 235, his lightest weight since his rookie season, to adapt better to a pass-happy NFL.
“First of all I know he ain't going to go out like that. Ray Lewis will come back from this injury,” Ellerbe said. “To have a 17-year career, to compete at that level that he competed at and be in shape, for the game to be so dangerous, just for him to be in the league 17 years and have the accolades he's got, it speaks for itself. To be labeled as the best linebacker to ever play the game, it's truly a blessing.”
NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, one of Lewis’ former teammates and closest friends, said on Twitter that “The Ray Lewis I know will not end his career off this injury. He’s conquered much more than this. He will determine when it’s over, not [an] injury.”
Still, Lewis faces a potentially long recovery. While speaking about triceps tears in general and not specifically about Lewis, Dr. Daryl Osbahr, an attending orthopedic surgeon and the director of sports medicine research at Med Star Union Memorial Hospital, said full tears usually require surgery and a recovery period of about six months.
“With complete ruptures, they require surgery for athletes who want to return to play at the prior level of their competition,” said Osbahr. “Obviously, with a football player, you’d want to fix it so they’d have strength in their elbow. That would mean basically missing the season if it’s a complete season … There’s plenty of time to get back for the season next year. These processes of the triceps are definitely under a year so pretty much at six months, you expect them to be ready to go.”
Baltimore Sun staff writer Aaron Wilson contributed to this article.