Ray Ray Is Really Saying Goodbye?! Even I'm Going to Miss Him. [Farewell from a Fan of Your Arch Rivals]
Art Modell moved the Browns to Baltimore for the 1996 season. The same day that the Steelers and Rams made the Draft Day trade that brought Jerome Bettis to the Steelers, the Ravens selected Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis with their first two picks. Ray played the game the way it was meant to be played, he's always given 110% and left it all on the field. Twice a year for 17 years, sometimes 3 times in the same season, I had the opportunity to see him play against my Steelers. I will always hate the Ravens more than any other team in football, it's in my blood, they are Pittsburgh's arch nemesis, but I consider myself lucky to say I watched him play the game. The Steelers and Ravens have had one of the roughest, nastiest rivalries in football for a long time, and Ray has been a huge part of what has made this rivalry so great. I hated playing against him, but isn't that one of the best compliments you can give to any player?
17 seasons, 13 times a pro-bowler, a Super Bowl ring that comes complete with a well-deserved MVP award for the game, 2 Defensive Player of the Year awards, and 7 times all-pro. He has epitomized what football is all about, and has been the leader of that feared Ravens defense for so many years. Next year when the Ravens come to town and I don't see #52 on the field, it's just not going to be the same. As long as there's been the Ravens, there's been Ray Lewis. I don't need to tell you all the stats, we know how the story ends, on stage donning a yellow jacket in Canton, and it's not even a question.
Until next time I'm Bryan Kramer for The Blitzburgh Pit Stop saying start the countdown to Canton for this man. Love him or hate him (and for so many years I certainly loved to hate him), even I can put the hatred aside and wish him well, knowing that the NFL is losing one of the best linebackers to ever put on a pair of cleats. Happy trails Ray Ray, the game just won't be the same without you!
BK over and out