The Baltimore Ravens' championship parade may be Ray Lewis’ last public event with his teammates, and the celebration honored and highlighted his contributions to the organization over the last 17 years.
After 228 regular-season games in which he racked up 2,050 tackles, 41.5 sacks, 19 forced fumbles and 31 interceptions, Lewis has established himself as the greatest middle linebacker in NFL history.
He had been recognized twice as the Defensive Player of the Year, and after Sunday’s victory, he is also a two-time Super Bowl champion.
His credentials are truly incredible, and it will take an extremely long time for any Raven to provide so much success for the franchise.
While this parade was about the team, Lewis rightfully received more attention than any other player. It was certainly a grand celebration, but this moment was also a send-off for the future Hall of Famer.
The planning and logistics of the parade allowed for this added element to be embellished, and Ravens fans got to see Lewis go out in all his glory.
As The Associated Press noted (via ESPN), the legendary linebacker “had a position of honor” in the vehicles that carried the Baltimore players along the parade route.
But the real show started when the team arrived at M&T Bank Stadium.
This gave Lewis the chance to come out of the tunnel one last time, but in this instance, he was carrying the Lombardi Trophy. In order to not disappoint the crowd, he followed up his grand entrance with his signature dance.
Lewis coming out of the tunnel with football’s ultimate prize will gave Baltimore fans a lasting image of the man who led the franchise through several remarkably impressive seasons.
Coming back from an injury to spark his team on a run that ended with a Super Bowl victory was an ending to his career that is fit for a Hollywood blockbuster. But after the drama from Sunday died down, there needed to be one final scene before the closing credits rolled.
This is exactly what the parade provided, and it was the perfect ending to Lewis’ illustrious career.