Linebacker Ray Lewis will likely play his last game at M&T Bank Stadium Sunday, but it might be the last home game for Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed as well.
Lewis said Wednesday he will retire at the end of the season and Reed hasn’t commented on future plans. It's possible the Ravens won’t re-sign Reed once his contract expires after this season. If re-signing Reed appeared likely, the Ravens would have made that move by now.
Lewis’ retirement appears to be the start of reshaping this team and bringing in some fresh blood, so to speak. The Ravens are hoping that Lewis and Reed have enough big plays left in them to make a deep run into the postseason. They certainly won’t go down easily.
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Lewis has been so great for so long that he has his own coaching tree. Marvin Lewis, Mike Nolan, Mike Smith, Rex Ryan, Jack Del Rio and Chuck Pagano were Ravens assistants who later became NFL coaches during Lewis’ career.
That’s a testament to Lewis and what he brought to this franchise and to the field every Sunday for 17 years.
If Lewis was 1A, then Reed became 1B. They both went to the University of Miami and when you thought of the Ravens defense, those were the two faces that immediately came to mind.
Lewis has the more storied career, but Reed is also headed to the Hall of Fame. He still can make big plays, and he's always made them look easy because of that long, easy stride.
Reed has always been a different type of guy, but once you cut through his reckless style and decisions on the field, he is a good person with a big heart. Few players in the Ravens organization have done as much for the community as Reed.
I expect the Ravens to allow Lewis to do his “Squirrel” introductory dance one last time Sunday, but it would be just as nice if they did something for Reed as well. It’s not too often a city gets to honor two Hall of Famers possibly playing their last home game at the same time.