Lewis told his teammates “this will be my last ride” as they prepare to face the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in an AFC wild-card playoff game that is likely to be his last at M&T Bank Stadium.
Lewis is a 12-time Pro Bowl player and a seven-time All-Pro player who has twice been the NFL’s Defensive Player of the year.
Lewis had previously said that he would retire when his son began playing in college and Ray Lewis III will start playing next season at the University of Miami, his father's alma mater.
“God is calling,” Lewis said. “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, and now it’s my turn to give them something back.”
On Nov. 14, Lewis suffered torn triceps that sidelined him for the rest of the season. However, in a near-miraculous recovery, he is ready to play Sunday.
Reactions to Ray Lewis' retirement
Gov. Martin O'Malley: Ray Lewis = greatest Raven of all time. Can't wait to see that dance Sunday!
Hall of Famer Barry Sanders: I'd like to take a moment to honor a great career and player in @raylewis a worthy opponent.
Jacob Lacey: Ray Lewis don't retire ! Fav LB EVER
Kelvin Sheppard: Just heard that the G.O.A.T Ray Lewis plans on retiring after this season words can't explain the impact he's had on my career and the game
Torrey Smith: Had to watch Big Ray announce his retirement...it has been amazing to play with him...We need to take care of business for him and our city
Donte' Stallworth: 1st ballot guy RT @SportsCenter: RT @Ravens Ray Lewis told the team today "this will be my last ride."
MMA fighter John Rallo: @raylewis announced his retirement. It was an honor to watch possibly the greatest football player ever, play for the Ravens the last 17yrs
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