For a month, Ray Lewis had spoken quite a bit about his so-called last ride, and the first question posed to him here last Monday was whether he had found himself thinking about the end: his last game, his last speech, his last pregame prayer, his last question about a double murder and distractions.
He said that he hadn’t, that he wouldn’t, that he couldn’t. But only Lewis knows where his mind meandered Sunday night while he spit fury at his teammates; while he sat alone on the edge of the Ravens’ bench with his head bowed; while he chased after San Francisco receivers who ran him ragged across the middle of the field; while the 49ers spun a 22-point deficit into a dazzling comback that expired at the Baltimore 5-yard line.
Even in this festive city, the mood all week for Lewis’s retirement party has been subdued. The celebration began anew after the Ravens eked out a 34-31 victory in Super Bowl XLVII, sending Lewis out in style, as champion for the second time.
“He just wanted us all to feel what it feels like to win this thing,” quarterback Joe Flacco said after the game. “He felt it, and of course, he wanted us to feel it again.”