Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Sports

Ravens star to retire

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ray Lewis spent 17 seasons instilling fear in his opponents while serving as an inspirational leader for the Ravens. Now he's eager to be a full-time dad.

The middle linebacker announced Wednesday that he will retire after this season.

Lewis, 37, tore his right triceps Oct. 14 but intends to return Sunday against the Colts.

"Everything that starts has an end," he said.

Lewis wants to spend more time with his two sons. While rehabbing, he watched them play at Lake Mary Prep, north of Orlando. Next season, Ray Lewis III plays his freshman season at Miami, where the elder Lewis starred.

"God is calling," said Lewis, a Bartow native who played his high school ball at Lakeland Kathleen. "My children have made the ultimate sacrifice for their father for 17 years. I don't want to see them do that no more. I've done what I wanted to do in this business.

"I always promised my son if he got a full ride on scholarship, Daddy is going to be there. I can't miss that."

Lewis, a seven-time All-Pro, was named defensive player of the year in 2000, the same season he was voted Super Bowl MVP after the Ravens' 34-7 rout of the Giants in Tampa. He also was defensive player of the year in 2003 and is the only player with at least 40 sacks and 30 interceptions.

"I never played the game for individual stats," he said. "I only played the game to make my team a better team."

Drafted 26th overall in 1996 (the first season after the team moved from Cleveland), Lewis became a beloved figure in Baltimore. He remained that way even after his reported involvement in two homicides in 2000. He eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor and testified against two co-defendants. Within a year, Lewis led the Ravens to their only title.

Hundreds of games later, he's ready to call it a career.

"It was sad," Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs said of the announcement. "For the past 10 years … I've been sitting right next to the man and going to war on Sundays. It's going to one hard last ride, and we need to make it one to remember."

Lewis called his rehab from the torn triceps "bittersweet." After spending Monday through Thursday working to return, he hopped on a plane to Florida to be with his boys.

"Not having a father myself, that damaged me a lot," Lewis said. "I didn't want my kids to relive that. One of the hardest things in the world is to walk away from my teammates. But now I'm going to step into other chapters of my life.

"When God calls, he calls. And he's calling. More importantly, he calls me to be a father. It's okay to be Daddy. Yes, this chapter is closing, but the chapter that's opening is overwhelming. That's what excites me the most."

Comments
Lightning-Capitals: Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s 4-0 loss in Game 7

Lightning-Capitals: Roger Mooney’s takeaways from the Lightning’s 4-0 loss in Game 7

* The Lightning picked the worst time to stop scoring goals. It's tough to win when you go more than six periods without getting at least one past the goalie, but that is what happened to the NHL's top-scoring team during the regular season.* Certain...
Updated: 2 minutes ago
State baseball: 60 wins and counting for Calvary Christian

State baseball: 60 wins and counting for Calvary Christian

FORT MYERS — Calvary Christian will play for its second straight Class 4A state championship Thursday. The Warriors defeated Jacksonville Trinity Christian 2-1 on Wednesday night at Hammond Stadium in a game delayed three hours due to weather. It is ...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Wednesday’s Rays-Red Sox game

In a way, the timing of RHP Jake Faria's oblique injury seemed manageable in that RHP Nathan Eovaldi is close to coming off the disabled list and can step in. But on the other hand, the Rays finally could have four regular starters. Imagine that.Ther...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Live blog: It comes down to this for Bolts-Caps

Live blog: It comes down to this for Bolts-Caps

Follow our live coverage of the Eastern Conference final between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals.We'll have updates, analysis, photos, video and more on and off the ice from Times reporters, editors, sports columnists and photo journa...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region baseball: Venice dispatches Mitchell

NEW PORT RICHEY — Walking by the football field and toward the parking lot after Wednesday's Class 7A region final at Ridgewood High, several Venice High players were caught by surprise as the irrigation system turned on.But while shaking off t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
‘C’mon Tampa, let’s go!’ Lightning fans gather for Game 7

‘C’mon Tampa, let’s go!’ Lightning fans gather for Game 7

TAMPA — Hours before Gate C opened Wednesday at Amalie Arena, six die-hard Tampa Bay Lightning fans gathered on the steps.Waiting.For Thomas Schooley, 40, of Seminole, it’s a pregame tradition with meaning."I’ve got to be the first one in," Schooley ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays’ Jake Faria may be out until August, Vidal Nuno called up

Rays’ Jake Faria may be out until August, Vidal Nuno called up

UPDATE, 5:32: Faria is looking at at extended absence, potentially into August. Cash said an estimate of 6-8 weeks was on the optimistic side. "From what we found out he got it pretty good," Cash said.  "So it could be a little bit longer than t...
Updated: 3 hours ago
USF posts (mostly) solid APR marks

USF posts (mostly) solid APR marks

For the third consecutive year, all 16 USF sports programs posted Academic Progress Rate (APR) scores of 952 or better, well above the NCAA's minimum standard.But its two most prominent sports showed mild decreases.The 2016-17 APR scores (rolling fou...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Win or lose, no one should be down on this Lightning season

Win or lose, no one should be down on this Lightning season

TAMPA — So here's a question that came up before Game 7 of the Eastern Conference final between the Lightning and Capitals. It's a fill-in-the-blank question.Here goes: If the Lightning does not win the Stanley Cup, this Lightning season will g...
Updated: 4 hours ago
State softball: Land O’Lakes advances to second straight title game

State softball: Land O’Lakes advances to second straight title game

VERO BEACH — Land O'Lakes had just finished a hard-fought 5-0 victory over Clay in the Class 6A state semifinal. Callie Turner threw a no-hitter. Jolene Bodner had a two-run single.The win was big, clinching the Gators' second straight champion...
Updated: 4 hours ago