Ray Lewis and the Ravens have agreed on a three-year deal finally putting an end to the speculations about his free agency.
Even though the Ravens lost Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard, are still toying with Samari Rolle, and kicked Chris McAlister to the curb, I believe with Ray Lewis in the mix, the defense will fare well next year. Key players like Haloti Ngata, Ed Reed, Dawan Landry, and Terrell Suggs will see to it. (Organized Chaos anyone?) So will Ozzie Newsome.
Has anyone ever noticed players who are fantastic on the Ravens' defense seem to disappear into the crowd when they leave? (Adalius Thomas who?) Players that are good on other teams are phenomenal in the Ravens' system (i.e. Jim Leonhard). From what I've read Ray is a big part of that. He pushes the people around him to play to their highest level, to learn and study the game. His enthusiasm has to rub off.
But it is a two way street. Ray also gains a lot by staying here. He is established here and he is the face of the Ravens' defense. He will have a legacy and be a legend. There are not too many star football players out there that have spent their whole career on one team. I can see the statue of him now...
Would the defense have survived if Ray Lewis left? I think so. (Sorry Ray.) It would be different, with a completely different personality, but I believe there are those that would have (will) stepped up. That is one of the great characteristics of the Ravens. Ozzie Newsome is good at picking those that can fill in where needed. Every year there are players that surprise us. It seems that the type of coach John Harbaugh is would play a part in how good the defense can be. He seems to be an inspiration. (What's our name?!)
Would I have survived if Ray left? After going through the stages of grief, I would have moved on. There are so many people on the team to get behind; it would be hard to stay in a funk for too long. I feel he would have been more sorely missed if there were no Joe Flacco. Without Joe there was no hope. Now it isn't up to Ray and the rest of the "D" to win the game.
No one can blame Ray for trying the free agency waters. Wouldn't want any "coulda, shoulda, wouldas" hanging over him.
Could he have handled it a little better? If the rumors of his statements about the Cowboys are true, heck yeah! Bite the hand that feeds you, why don't you. I for one took it personally (get a life you say?).
The "tarnish" he now has can be removed. I don't think it will take long to forgive and forget. The first game he comes out with his "dance" the crowds will cheer like crazy and move on. I am ecstatic that he is back; I've almost forgiven him already.
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