Despite his being out since October 14 with a triceps injury, the news of 37-year-old Ray Lewis' retirement has shocked many Ravens and NFL fans.
He made the announcement through the official Ravens website, saying "this will be my last ride."
Terrell Suggs on Ray Lewis: "It's amazing and it's sad all at the same time."
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 2, 2013
Lewis was first drafted in 1996 out of the University of Miami to the Baltimore Ravens, rated as the best linebacker prospect of his class. As of this season he was the only player from the '96 class to still be playing.
Check out some of his best hits here:
How about some of his awe-inspiring stats?
The Ravens' game against the Colts on Sunday in the Playoff wildcard game is likely to be Lewis' final game in Baltimore, that's if he plays. There has been no announcement about whether or not he has made a sufficient recovery from his triceps injury. Since returning to training on December 5th, Lewis has been on the active roster.
Twice voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year, in 2000 he led the Ravens to Super Bowl victory, the Ravens' set an NFL record with fewest points allowed in a single 16-game season.
Lewis adamantly denied retirement rumors at the end of last season, but more recently has said it was unlikely he would play on over the age of 37.