This might be a reach, but is there any thought ot he question of wondering if Ray Lewis' decision to drop 20 pounds for this season perhaps having a role in his season-ending injury from this past weekend's 31-29 victory over the Dallas Cowboys? Before you call the guys in the white coats and put me away like a drooling idiot, hear me out.
Only a few years ago, Ray said in an interview that he knew how his body reacted over the course of the season and since he was not getting any younger, he made the decision to gain weight in order to absorb the shock of the blows from the huge offensive linemen hitting him on every play. He said he didn't want to keep waking up on Mondays all sore and bruised.
Now, headed into his 17th season in the NFL, Lewis announced he had lost about 20pounds in order to gain speed to keep up with the new breed of big and fast tight ends in the league. The knock on Ray has been that he was becoming, dare we say, a liability dropping into pass coverage?
Opposing tight ends were and continue to have record-setting days (see Philadelphia Eagles TE Brent Celek) against the Ravens, catching passes in the middle of the field, the responsibility of Lewis. Despite the loss of weight, his coverage skills remained the weak link in his still high level of play.
Sunday, he was involved in what might have appeared to be a typical tackle. As has happened all season, the Ravens were being driven backwards by the opposing team's offensive line, not making initial contact with the ball carrier until he had already gained 4-5 yards. Ray still got involved in making the tackle, yet landed a bit awkward and came up holding his dangling arm.
Could a heavier Ray Lewis had fought off this and so many other blocks this season as opposed to the lighter version? Maybe, maybe not. One thing is known for sure and that is the reputation of the Ravens as a team that you just could not run against seems to becoming a distant memory.
Is there any truth to the thought that if Lewis had stayed at the same weight as last year, might he be fighting off blocks and making these tackles closer to the line of scrimmage? Would Lewis have landed the same way and been injured with the additional strength and weight?
Obviously, we'll never know, yet perhaps it bears discussion for future players who may be thinking of prolonging their careers by sacrificing safety for the chance to play another year or so.