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AFC Championship 2013: Ray Lewis remains 'a top linebacker', Ravens' John Harbaugh says

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Ray Lewis is in his 17th season, but his coach says he still ranks among the league's best.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens have rode the emotion of Ray Lewis's retirement to two-straight wins in the playoffs, including a surprising double-overtime win in Denver last Saturday. Of course, it hasn't just been the motivation to play for Ray, he's been performing well on the field and helping Baltimore succeed, according to head coach John Harbaugh.

Harbaugh spoke with the media on Thursday, and he had high praise for Lewis. Harbaugh still believes that No. 52 is playing at a high level, via the Ravens official site:

"He can still play," Harbaugh said. "He’s been playing at a high level for 17 years. He’s a top linebacker in the game right now, at this very moment, so he’s made a difference for us."

Lewis recorded 17 tackles, including one for loss, in Baltimore's Divisional round win over the Broncos. He has been playing with a large brace since returning from torn triceps suffered earlier in the season, but that hasn't stopped him from playing every snap in the playoffs.

Even with Lewis still playing well, he reiterated that it has not affected his decision to retire. He is ready to leave and spend time with family, and how he performs on the field has little to do with it.