Ray Lewis' full statement to media on his retirement

January 02, 2013|Baltimore Sun staff

Ray Lewis' statement to the media today at the Under Armour Performance Center:

“I talked to my team today and I talked to them about life in general. Everything that starts has an end. It’s just life. For me, today, I told my team that this would be my last ride. I told them I just felt so much peace in where I am with my decision because of everything I’ve done in this league. I’ve done it, man. There’s no accolade that I don’t have individually but I’ve never played the game for individual stats. I’ve only played the game to make my team be a better team. Now, God is calling. God is calling in so many other areas of life and my children have made the ultimate sacrifice for their father, the ultimate for 17 years. Whether it’s jump on the plane, jump right back, go to school, and I don’t want to see them do no more. I’ve done what I wanted to do in this business and now, it’s my turn to give them back something. It’s either hold onto the game or keep playing or let my kids miss out on times we could be sharing together. I promised my son if he got a full-ride scholarship, Daddy was going to be there. I can’t miss that. I don’t know if I could sit in a meeting room and fight with that war. One of the hardest things in the world is to walk away from my teammates because that’s my brotherhood, the only thing that I ever played for is to be right there and to raise Ed and to be with Sizzle for so long and to sit next to him. We’re so much on the same path. Does that part hurt? Absolutely. You can never rebuild those bonds. Those bonds are forever. But the chapter is huge for me to now step into other areas of life. I may be gone now. But I ain’t gone forever. I’m just going in another phase of life. I think my fans, I think my city, they deserve it. They deserve that whenever this road stops, for me not just to walk away and be like, ‘I’m done.’ I think we all get to enjoy what Sunday will feel like knowing that this will be the last time 52 plays in a uniform in Ravens’ stadium.”

“I knew it honestly because I knew where I couldn’t divide anymore. I couldn’t split my time. When God calls, he calls, and he’s calling. More importantly, where he aligns me at is he calls me to be a father. ‘It’s OK to be Daddy’ and it’s OK to say that this chapter is closing. But the chapter that is open is overwhelming. That’s the thing that excites me the most. I told my teammates that’s what is set up for me now, I could never see this day. I can always push, push, push. There’s always next year, next year, next year, next summer, next summer, whatever. I could never see that day and I’ve watched other people’s retirements and I’ve watched so many other different things. I’ve always said when I go out, I will make sure that I give Him all the glory for letting me be able to stand here after 17 years. God forbid, I don’t have injuries that are really going to hamper me when I’m done playing the game. I played the game at a very, very high level and a very rough pace. But for me to be where I am standing as a man now and just say, ‘Make my own.’ I make this last run with my team. I give them everything that I got. That’s one thing I shared with them in that meeting. I said, ‘I’m going to give you everything that I got because this is our last one. And wherever it ends, I didn’t come back for it to end in the first round.”  

“It will be hard not to think about it. Torrey asks me every day, when are they going to see me come out back out of that tunnel. He’s just one of many. But that moment is for everybody from the day I walked in here in 1996. That moment, to walk out of the tunnel Sunday, every person that was a Ravens fan in 1996 to this day, we will all enjoy that moment. We will all savor in that moment. I can’t tell you how I will feel when that moment comes. I can only tell you that it will be probably one of the glorious moments of my life.”

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