Lewis ends NFL career in championship fashion

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Lewis‘ old buddy, 34-year-old Ed Reed, contributed a first-half interception. Jacoby Jones scored two touchdowns, and after the second _ a 108-yard kickoff return to open the third quarter _ he saluted his retiring teammate with a rendition of the “squirrel” dance Lewis made famous.

Days earlier, Lewis was confronted about his use of deer antler spray in his effort to return from the triceps injury. He vehemently denied trying the banned substance, and that sideshow fizzled out quickly enough so that it was not a distraction Sunday.

The Ravens will have another middle linebacker next season, but they will never have another Ray Lewis. Coach John Harbaugh was asked why the team responded so passionately to him and his effort to go out on top.

“If you’re going to talk about the Ray thing, you want to ask about it, then the answer’s got to be faith,” Harbaugh said. “I mean Ray is driven by spirituality and faith and that’s what he draws on and that’s where his strength comes from. So if you really want to know, I mean that’s what he’s tapping into and that’s what makes it so beautiful and so perfect.”

Lewis was the second draft pick in Ravens‘ history, following Jonathan Ogden in 1996. Ogden, who was elected into the NFL Hall of Fame on Saturday, waved to his former teammate during the pregame coin flip Sunday.

Perhaps one day, Ogden will extend the same greeting to Lewis in Canton, Ohio.

For now, however, Lewis is looking to joining his family for some quiet time.

“No other way to go out and end a career. This is how you do it,” Lewis said. “Everything around me is my kids. Daddy gets to come home now. They aren’t going to like me being at home all the time.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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