In the period of time since Ray Lewis' big announcement that he will be retiring at the conclusion of the season there has been a considerable amount of respect given to him and his career by various media outlets and fans alike. On Thursday, Roger Goodell added another name onto that long list by sitting down for a lengthy interview with the Baltimore Sun.
In this interview Roger Goodell praised Lewis' longevity and how he spent his entire career with one single team which is a rare feat in this age of multi-year million-dollar free agent signings. He went on to admire how the "passionate, emotional, and physical" style of play Lewis has trademarked over the last decade and a half. He also later added that he feels Lewis will continue to stay involved in the NFL long after he retires, even though it might not be on the field anymore.
From BaltimoreSun.com: "There comes a time for everybody. You’re saddened to have someone so special to the game of football leave the field, but I know that he’s the kind of guy who will stay involved and who, one way or another, will continue to make a contribution back to the game of football. He’s a special guy. Obviously, he’s an incredible football player, but he’s also made enormous contributions off the field.”
“He’s a tremendous voice of reason,” Goodell said. “He’s someone that has a unique pulse of the players and that’s helpful to me. That perspective is important to hear, and he would always share that with me whether he called or I called him. ... He means a great deal to this commissioner, and I could tell you that I will always seek out his input. He will stay involved, I’m certain of it, in football and that perspective that he has is something I’ll reach out for on a regular basis.”
Obviously these words mean a lot coming from Goodell who has been heavily criticized for being out of touch with the players in the NFL, so one would assume that when he says something of this magnitude he truly means it. It just goes to show how many people Ray Lewis has effected in the last 17-years; even the commissioner of the NFL itself.
While it is true that Ray Lewis will be missed, I agree with the commissioner that he will not be away from the game for long; eventually Lewis will be a coach/GM/owner/league-employee or something else behind the scenes. It's simply impossible to envision an NFL without Ray Lewis.
Read the entire interview here