Driven by the ambition for another Super Bowl title as the end of his NFL career approaches, retiring Ravens star linebacker Ray Lewis is also determined to honor the late Art Modell.
The former Ravens and Cleveland Browns majority owner died at age 87 on Sept. 6 from natural causes, a passing that affected Lewis deeply, as he was close to Modell and his family.
As the Ravens prepare for Saturday's AFC divisional round playoff game against the Denver Broncos, honoring Modell is on Lewis' mind.
"Yeah, it's hard for it not to," said Lewis when asked if he's been thinking about Modell lately. "Last week when I came back, I put his shirt up under my other shirt. His legacy will never die. So, it's something that's always on my mind. Not just his, a lot of people that I've lost over the years.
"I take them with me every time I go on the football field. But he is one of the special ones, and I know that if we have the ability to look down from heaven, then he is smiling. He is smiling because I know he'd be pulling in here right now, saying, 'Here we go again.'"
During his final home game at M&T Bank Stadium, a 24-9 AFC wild-card victory over the Indianapolis Colts, Lewis wore an undershirt with the Biblical chapter, Psalms 91, stenciled across his chest.
The lengthy scripture begins: "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my god; in him I will trust."
Lewis said he was given the Psalms from a military veteran.
"It's a safe place," Lewis said. "A lot of things are always swirling around in your life and pulls you in and out of this and pulls you in and out of that. When you read Psalms 91, and I will encourage anybody to read it no matter what you are going through in life, because it's a safe place. It's what God confirms. For me, through the ups and downs, the roller coasters of 17 years, you have to find a safe place.
"You have to find that place that is very quiet in your head, and any time I read it, anytime I come across it [in] my Bible, and the first scripture in there is Psalms 91. For me, I always like to display it to people because no matter what you are going through in life, we all need that safe place. We all need a place to go back to despite your religion, whatever you may want to claim. I think that has always stuck for me."
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