Ray Lewis Makes Emotional Entrance in Final Home Game

Ben ChodosCorrespondent IIJanuary 6, 2013

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is on the field against the Indianapolis Colts to start the playoffs after tearing his triceps earlier this season. 

Lewis announced earlier this week, via Yahoo! Sports, that he would retire at the end of the season. The legendary linebacker busted out his signature dance after being introduced before the Wild Card Game against Indianapolis Colts.

Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silver noted that Lewis was eyeing a comeback before the end of the regular season, even though he was reportedly ruled out for the remainder of the year after suffering the injury in Baltimore’s Week 6 victory over the Dallas Cowboys

The linebacker’s return is a massive boost for the Ravens as the team begins its playoff run. With Baltimore earning the No. 4 seed in the playoffs and the No. 6 Cincinnati Bengals losing yesterday, this will be the last home game for the team this year.

Lewis may no longer have the dynamic speed that allowed him to win the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2000 and 2003, but the 17-year veteran is still extremely valuable to the Ravens.

With such vast experience, few middle linebackers are able to read and recognize opposing offenses like Lewis, and his presence as the defense’s quarterback gives the Ravens a distinct advantage.

In addition, Lewis is one of the NFL’s all-time great leaders, and his ability to draw the most out of his teammates is a large part of what makes him a guaranteed first-ballot Hall of Famer.

But he is also still a productive player on the field. He had racked up 57 total tackles in six games before getting injured, putting him on pace to record over 150 tackles had he stayed healthy for the entire season.

With Lewis back in the lineup, Baltimore is an even more dangerous team than it already was. The Ravens have playmakers on offense and an extremely talented defense around Lewis. This team is a Super Bowl contender with Lewis back as its leader.