Every morning, Monday through Friday, blogger Matt Vensel will hook you up with reading material -- mostly on the Ravens but with some other Baltimore sports stuff, too -- to skim through as you slug down coffee and slack off at the start of your workday. That way he’ll have an excuse to do the same to start his workday, too.
RUNNING IT BACK
Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis said Wednesday that he would retire at season's end. ... Mike Preston says that Lewis will retire as the greatest middle linebacker that ever played. ... His Ravens teammates were mostly shocked by the announcement. ... The Ravens have had mixed results recently without Lewis. ... Fullback Vonta Leach and offensive guard Marshal Yanda say they are feeling better. ... Linebacker Jameel McClain, out for the season with a neck injury, does not plan to have surgery in the offseason.
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RAVENS STUFF, BUT NOT FROM US
Ray Lewis is the greatest defender ever. ... His speed revolutionized the middle linebacker position. ... Ray Lewis symbolizes the NFL, not just the Ravens. ... Is Ray Lewis the greatest gridiron leader ever? ... Ray Lewis leaves a complicated legacy. ... Lewis is going to come out swinging in his final games.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
Andrew Luck is the only quarterback chosen first overall to lead his team to the playoffs as a rookie. ... The playoffs will be a new frontier for Luck. ... Colts coach Chuck Pagano is looking for some mojo. ... The Colts are getting healthier. ... Are the Colts overrated or legit?
SHAMELESS PLUG OF THE DAY
Here are five Ravens stats that stand out this week.OUTSIDE OF BALTIMORE
The San Francisco 49ers signed former Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff. ... New York Jets coach Rex Ryan went to the Bahamas instead of having a year-end press conference. ... One of the NFL's best defenses is getting even stronger entering the playoffs. ... Victor Cruz is still open to doing a contract extension with the New York Giants. ... The Cleveland Browns are interviewing coaching candidates.