The Baltimore Ravens Without Ray Lewis

Hayley the Model Sports FanContributor IIIJanuary 4, 2013

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 23: Linebacker Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens is introduced before playing against the New England Patriots at M&T Bank Stadium on September 23, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Ray Lewis has been one of the most influential and consistent figures in the NFL for the last 17 seasons. On Wednesday Lewis announced that he plans to retire at the end of this season. It is hard to imagine the NFL without, arguably, one its best defensive players to play the game. 

Ray Lewis had one of the most interesting careers in the league.

He has always been talented on the field, but he has not always been viewed in the same light. In particular his involvement with the deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar, who were stabbed to death after a Super Bowl party in 2000. Lewis pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstruction of justice. He also paid a $250,000 fine to the NFL for the infraction. 

Since those years he has transcended to one of the most respected players in the league. He began his own charity (Ray Lewis 52 Foundation) and involves himself in many other charitable works. 

In a true sign he has left those dark days far behind, Roger Goodell offered Lewis a job. Goodell said that he would like Lewis to be a part-time advisor to the commissioner. Whatever Lewis decides to do in the upcoming year is unknown, but one thing is for sure: Seventeen seasons were enough.  

Ravens will be without their captain. Lewis is without argument the leader of the Baltimore Ravens. Even when injured on the sidelines he was there, shouting encouragement and rallying the players around him. He’s become famous for his motivational speeches and his ability to connect with his players.

What will become of the Ravens once Lewis is gone?

Will there be similarities to the Colts missing Peyton Manning?

Lewis is not a quarterback and the Ravens won’t be subbing in the Curtis Painter of linebackers, but he is the leader of this team. One has to wonder if the Ravens can function at such a high level without the heart of their team there to motivate them.

Only time will tell if there is a player on that team that can even attempt to become half the presence of Ray Lewis.