Ray Lewis, one of the NFL's greatest linebackers, has just etched out a Hall of Fame career right before our eyes. The 13-time Pro Bowler announced that he was calling it a career earlier this week.
When the Baltimore Ravens host the Indianapolis Colts, it will be Lewis' last time in the first round of the NFL playoffs.
As a Cowboys fan, I didn't have to see my team deal with RayLew the way other AFC, and particularly AFC North, teams had to. However, I still felt compelled to write and give my respect.
The words intense and passionate are thrown around for people who are obviously intense and passionate.
There should be more words reserved for Ray Lewis. Somehow, intense and passionate just don't quite convey how intense and passionate he really is. That, and his consistently stellar play on the field, are what defined his career.
The only person that may compare to Ray in this regard is Kevin Garnett. Before today, I had never even thought about Ray and KG at the same time, much less used them in the same sentence.
They do, however, have some things in common beyond their shared intensity and passion.
Both men have consistently played at a high level since the mid-1990's. They were both born in the month of May.
They are both from the South, Garnett hails from South Carolina. Lewis is a Florida guy. Each man has won a title at the highest level of their respective sports.
Unlike KG, Lewis has spent his entire career in one city. He has brought it each and every Sunday for Baltimore and Baltimore only since 1996.
In this day and age, this is becoming more and more of the exception rather than the rule. Hall of Famers such as Joe Montana, Emmitt Smith and Jerry Rice are not able to say that.
Imagine Ray Lewis' Hall of Fame speech. Can you imagine how it will be on that summer night in Canton, Ohio? Try as we may, I don't think we can.
Lizz Robbins puts it better than most.
I can't wait for Ray Lewis' HOF speech... it should be awesome.. they better pass out MLK church fans
— Lizzuendo (@Lizzs_Lockeroom) January 2, 2013
I think most of us feel this way.
RayLew has had an exceptional run. His "last ride" could mean being one-and-done after a wild-card loss to Indy or playing his last game on Super Bowl Sunday.
Either way, we need to enjoy every minute of it.