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Ray Lewis punches dance card for last time
Lewis returned to his middle linebacker position after a 10-week absence. Minutes before the opening kickoff, Lewis thrilled the sellout crowd during introductions by coming out of the tunnel and gyrating to the tune “Hot in Herre.”
Hundreds of fans had their cellphones raised to either take a picture or videotape the moment.
Lewis does the dance only before home games, and this was Baltimore’s last this season at M&T Bank Stadium.
Lewis concluded pre-game warmups by addressing the entire team on the 5-yard line. After his short speech, Lewis hugged a few teammates, mingled with a few people in the crowd and jogged to the sideline, where he engaged in a lengthy embrace with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Ken Malik, 61, wore a purple Lewis jersey and a broad smile.
“This is a big deal. It’s the last time he’ll come out of the tunnel,” she said. “It’s the last time he’ll play on this field. I’m excited to be here.”
One fan had a sign with a purple heart and the No. 52 in the middle. Earlier, a helicopter flew overhead with the No. 52 painted on its undercarriage.
Lewis was sidelined since Oct. 14 with a torn right triceps. He worked diligently to return in time for the playoffs, and his hard work paid off.
Lewis was elected to 13 Pro Bowls and is a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He told his teammates on Wednesday, “This will be my last ride.”
By John R. Bolton
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