Can you just imagine the devastation that we would feel as Baltimore Ravens fans if Ray Lewis leaves the team through Free Agency this off season? To see the face of this franchise since its inception in the colors of another team would sink this city into unimaginable depths. I realize some people think he's a little long in the tooth, but he had one of his better seasons last year and still has at least 2-3 more good ones in him. The issue that most people are concerned with is that the amount of cash that it will take to bring him back might prevent us from re-signing other big parts of the puzzle as well.
However, think about what the team will look like on the defensive side of the ball without Ray Ray. If he bolts, then I'd expect the team to re-sign Terrell Suggs and even Bart Scott, as they couldn't expect to lose both inside LB's in one fell swoop. That would leave Scott in the middle, perhaps with Tavares Gooden ironically (from Ray's alma mater -the "U") taking Ray's slot. However, the huge void would be in the locker room, on the practice field and in the tunnel, sidelines and huddle on game days. You cannot over-estimate the value that Ray provides to this team, it's veterans and younger kids with his motivational speeches, interviews and even tirades. He is absolutely a coach on the field and the Ravens need to do whatever it takes to not only keep him in purple for the rest of his career, but beyond that as a member of this coaching staff when he does decide to hang up his cleats.
Almost as painful as not seeing him in the Ravens defensive huddle, would be seeing him in another team's colors. Try to imagine him lining up in the New York Jets' green and white, or even worse, with the big blue star of the Dallas Cowboys on his helmet. I saw his interview with Jamie Dukes on the NFL Network the other day, where he said he wouldn't play less that what he was able to, so why would he accept less in a paycheck? So much for that "Home Team Discount." Ouch, that makes me nervous, but he still said Baltimore was his city and he loves the team, coaching staff and fans. He also said that being in Gotham City with Brett Favre, reunited with former Ravens defensive coordinator and new Jets coach Rex Ryan would be a great fit. He went on to say he loved TO and could easily play with him in Dallas. I was surprised he didn't say he'd love to play closer to home in Florida with the Dolphins or Jaguars while he was at it.!
Hopefully, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti will stay true to his word and do whatever it takes to keep Ray Lewis in a Baltimore uniform for the rest of his Hall of Fame career. The Free Agency period begins at the end of the month and it would be great to get this issue out of the way beforehand. Cross your fingers, Ravens fans.