As I was writing this week’s edition of A Punch, Bump, & a Chix Slap for BmoreChix.com, the news of your impending retirement was announced. Just as all Ravens fans around the world, I am saddened to hear this news. As I reflected upon my thoughts, I couldn’t help to realize that you are more than deserving of all of these so I am dedicating this week’s edition entirely to you.
Usually, this article is dedicated to the past Sunday’s game but I find myself not analyzing a game that practically didn’t matter. I find myself instead reminiscing upon an amazing career. There has been not only a focus on the playoffs but a more driven point of being in New Orleans in February. Above all else, the focus has been as to when #52 will return onto the playing field. While football is a team sport, you have been THE Ravens. And because of this, here is why you are sole recipient of Punch, Bump, & a Chix Slap this week.
YOU have given a Punch in the gut to Ravens fans nationwide, with the announcement of your retirement. While some will say they saw this coming, others are trying to cope with the impact of your decision. This decision could not have come easy for you. You have dedicated your blood, sweat, and tears to the Ravens. You have given your all and more than what any of us ever expected. We then became dependent upon you. We never fretted after a loss only because we knew that you would be there to lift us up. We never stressed during a close game because we knew you would be there to make a play. And when you got hurt, we knew that you would be back stronger than before with more intensity. The reason that this is such a punch in the gut is because so many of us look up to you for guidance. We look to you for inspiration. We now realize that Baltimore and the Ravens will never be the same. Football will never be the same. Whenever a great leaves the game, a part of that game can never be replaced.
You Mr. Lewis are deserving of a fist Bump for the amazing life you have led and will continue to lead. For 17 seasons, you have been the face of the Ravens. You have never demanded anything from anyone that you didn’t demand of yourself. You devoted your life to not only the Ravens and to the City of Baltimore, you have devoted your life to the NFL and the adoring fans. You have defined not only what an NFL defensive player is, you have defined what a man should be. You are the best of the best. We believe you to be immortal; you believe you are only a man given a gift. That gift has made you one of the most feared players of all time. We can never imagine the #52 being worn by anyone else. You will forever bleed Purple and Black no matter how much time passes by.
This coming Sunday, there will be Chix Slaps of high fives with tears being shed as this is more than likely your last game ever at M&T Bank Stadium. Your famous last exit from the tunnel will be legendary. Never has an entrance onto the playing field caused more intensity, more anticipation, or more notoriety than yours. As we watch you grace the field, we will reminisce upon a career that we have been lucky enough to have witnessed. We will cheer you on as never before and we will all stay to witness your last play in Baltimore. We will not only be looking for a Ravens win, we will be there every step of the way to ensure that you know what you mean to not only the Ravens but to the City of Baltimore. We will shed tears of sorrow as you step off the field for the last time at M&T Bank Stadium. Win or lose, know that you will always be a hero.
Now, it is time for a new chapter in your life. You can now be the man that you want to be, the father that you should be, and the legend that we all believe you to be.
Much love from one of your biggest fans,