Ray Lewis is one of the iconic figures in the NFL, but the bottom line is that he is not getting any younger and as he’s just turned 37 it may be that retirement day is not far away. In April 2011, Lewis hinted at a target date for his retirement when he told the NFL Network he couldn’t see myself playing football “past 37” and plenty of NFL bets have been placed backing him to call it a day at the end of the year.
However, even after defeat in the AFC Championship Game – 23-20 to the Patriots – Lewis made it clear that he was returning to play for the 2012 season.
He does though have a desire to avoid questions about how much he will play this year and could he go beyond this season with his playing career.
It’s true that his contract actually runs through to 2015 and the Ravens showed confidence in Lewis when they once again didn’t draft his eventual replacement in April. It must be said that he started last season very strongly and punters who bet on NFL will note that he was once again amongst the top performing inside linebackers in the league.
But the second half of the season was not such a success. A toe injury saw him miss four games and that really started all of the retirement talk. Not that Lewis is having any of that type of talk and he says that he is planning to keep playing for as long as he can.
His legacy in the NFL when he does finally quit will be a great and possibly legendary one, he has truly been one of the hard men of the game. The 222 games that he has played puts him second in the rankings amongst current active players, only behind kicker Jason Hanson and he is longest serving Raven by some six seasons, with Ed Reed trailing him six seasons back.
Lewis is now entering a 17th season in the NFL, but having just turned 37, will it be his last?