announced Wednesday that he would retire at season’s end. He is
. Here is what other media outlets are saying about Lewis this morning.
"Hero? Villain? A man of great talent who was nonetheless filled with faults? Yes, Lewis is all those things. So after Lewis revealed that this would be his final season whenever the Ravens' playoff run ends, he left the football world to consider a legacy with more extremes than a summit of Mount Everest.
"And more magnetic than the polar ice caps.
"Lewis is a star who transcended his team. He's symbolized the Ravens, first and foremost. But he also symbolized the game, from its violent nature to its parable about overcoming adversity. When fellow players,
"Butkus was a wrecking ball. Lewis was a projectile. Lewis, in many ways, defined the Second Age of Football. The first age, when Butkus dominated, was more about power. The second age, the one we're in now, is all about speed.
"Speed doesn't kill as much as it maims. Lewis was so fast that at his height, offenses could barely run a ground game, especially to the outside. He was too fast.
--- Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com says that Lewis is the greatest defender to ever play in the NFL.
"When it came to the running game, Lewis was fast enough to chase down running backs and physical enough to make them pay when he did. In Lewis' first 16 seasons, Baltimore never allowed more than 3.9 yards per carry.
"When it came to the passing game, he was explosive enough to rush the passer and athletic enough to cover running backs and tight ends. He's the only player in NFL history to amass 40 sacks and 30 interceptions.
played as they did beside him."
"Almost two years ago, Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis sat down with a fellow Baltimorean to try to reach him. The guy was struggling. He had once been a legend in his field, yet his motivation had waned. The results were not there, and he was trying to figure out if he wanted to keep going or quit.
--- Ashley Fox of ESPN.com says that despite his on-field greatness, Lewis leaves a complicated legacy.
"The complexity of Lewis' legacy, for me, comes in what happened outside an Atlanta nightclub in January 2000, the night after the Super Bowl was played there, when Richard Lollar and Jacinth Baker were stabbed to death. Lewis was indicted on two murder charges, and six months later he pleaded to a misdemeanor obstruction of justice charge in exchange for his testimony against two other defendants, who were ultimately acquitted. It is an indelible part of his history, just like the No. 52 on his jersey. He was there. He lied about it. Then he took a plea deal.
"Then-commissioner Paul Tagliabue fined Lewis $250,000 for conduct detrimental to the league. At the time, it was the largest such fine in NFL history, and it came with a caveat: If Lewis violated any part of his yearlong probation, the league would fine him an additional $250,000. Lewis did not give the league a reason to take any more of his money. …
"Some, like me, will never forget. Others, particularly young people, probably don't even remember. I certainly don't discredit Lewis' entire body of work, because he was a fantastic player who incredibly recovered from an event that, at the time, cast a dark cloud over the Ravens and the NFL. But the cynic in me, the realist in me, can't overlook it."
--- Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports wonders if Lewis is the greatest gridiron leader ever.
"There are warriors, and there are leaders -- and there are leaders among leaders. It's quite possible that Lewis, in addition to being the greatest defensive player of his generation, impacts the emotional states of those around him like no one who has ever donned a pair of shoulder pads.
"In his first game back, in what could be his last game in Baltimore, or anywhere, Lewis is sure to have everyone in purple performing at a fever pitch."
"Is Lewis' return a good distraction or a bad distraction?