OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) _ Ray Lewis spent 17 seasons deftly patrolling the middle of the football field and serving as an inspirational leader for the Baltimore Ravens.
Ray Lewis announcing he will retire after this season: twitter.com/Ravens/status/…— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 2, 2013
Now he's poised and eager to become a full-time dad.
Lewis announced Wednesday that he will end his brilliant NFL career after the Ravens complete their 2013 playoff run.
Lewis has been sidelined since Oct. 14 with a torn right triceps. The 13-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker intends to return Sunday to face the Indianapolis Colts in what will almost certainly be his final home game.
``Everything that starts has an end,'' Lewis said. ``For me, today, I told my team that this will be my last ride.''
Lewis will walk away from the game because he wants to spend more time with his sons. While working to return from his injury, Lewis watched two of his boys play on the same high school football team. He intends to see Ray Lewis III perform as a freshman next year for the University of Miami, where the elder Lewis starred before the Ravens selected him in the first round of the 1996 NFL draft.
``God is calling,'' the 37-year-old Lewis said. ``My children have made the ultimate sacrifice for their father for 17 years. I don't want to see them do that no more. I've done what I wanted to do in this business, and now it's my turn to give them something back.''
Ray Rice: "Baltimore is Ray Lewis."— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 2, 2013
That's why Lewis will pull off his No. 52 uniform for the last time after the Ravens lose or claim their second Super Bowl title.
Life after the NFL for Ray Lewis? NFL Network's Rich Eisen chimes in...
If he's so inclined, Ray Lewis will essentially be able to choose whichever seat on NFL sports television he cares to occupy.— Rich Eisen (@richeisen) January 2, 2013
NFL.com's Albert Breer talks numbers...
Ray Lewis is 37 years old, in his 17th NFL season, with over 2K tackles. The defining defensive player of his era.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 2, 2013
Fauz John Madden gives us the best tweet! Ha...
BREAKING:Tony Romo sent Ray Lewis a retirement gift but it was unfortunately intercepted once again by a Redskins defender— Faux John Madden (@FauxJohnMadden) January 2, 2013