Ray Lewis’ farewell tour makes final stop on biggest stage

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After his rookie year, the only time Lewis didn’t get a Pro Bowl invitation were those seasons when he was beset by injury — 2002, 2005 and 2012.

Last year he received his 13th Pro Bowl nod despite missing four games with a foot injury. This season, after tearing his right triceps on Oct. 14, there was a strong possibility he wouldn’t be back.

At first, the Ravens believed he was done for the year. But Lewis vowed to return, and his teammates were determined to make it happen.

“We knew we wanted to make the playoffs in order for Ray to have a chance to come back,” safety Ed Reed said. “He’s that engine, that motor that’s going to go all the time. He understands what the offense is trying to do to you when you’re talking about the run game. He’s calling out plays before they even happen. That’s what you really miss when Ray is out.”

Since his return, Lewis has 44 tackles in three games. He isn’t limping into retirement; rather, he’s headed out with a flourish.

“He’s played really well. He’s played just like he’s always played,” coach John Harbaugh said.

Lewis attributes his involuntary 10-game absence as the reason behind his resurgence on the field.

“I’ve always said that anytime you can give your body a true rest — not just your body — anytime you can give your mind a certain rest from the game and from the every week wear and tear, when you come back you come back just as fresh as ever,” Lewis said. “For me right now, I feel fresh. My mind is fresh, my body is fresh and I’m just excited to really be able to end the thing up the right way.”

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