Friday, May 09, 2008

Ray Lewis' career could end somewhere other than Baltimore

According to Adam Schefter of NFL Network, talks regarding a contract extension between the Ravens and Ray Lewis are at a crossroads. That should surprise no one. In fact if Schefter said that talks were going smoothly I would be concerned because that would suggest that the Ravens were being far too accommodating to the two-time Defensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl XXXV MVP.

More than likely Ray Lewis’ representatives are asking the team for a staggering signing bonus, one that likely had the Ravens front office doubled over in laughter behind closed doors.

Some have criticized Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti for not so subtly suggesting a few weeks ago that if Lewis files for free agency after the 2008 season, that the Ravens would probably top any offers that Ray receives.

"If [Ray] becomes a free agent next year, I think the Ravens would probably outbid other teams. We know Ray's value more than the other teams. We know the leadership he brings to the team. We know the commitment and the effort he gives to winning."

On the surface such a suggestion deserves criticism and it could place Ozzie Newsome and Pat Moriarty in a tough spot.

Beneath the surface of that statement lays Bisciotti’s true intent – HOPEFULLY!

Could it be that Bisciotti is confident that other teams won’t be rolling out the red carpet for Ray? Lewis will be 34 years old entering the 2009 season. Mike Singletary’s career closely parallel Lewis’ (All-Pro eight times, All-NFC nine times, 10 Pro Bowl selections, 2 DPOY Awards) and he retired at the age of 34. Is it prudent to offer an aging veteran who has played only one complete season in the last six (2003) a lucrative signing bonus?

Of course not!

Sentimental fools have no business in the NFL. Just ask Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott, Emmitt Smith and Junior Seau. Do you think their fans ever expected them to dress in another uniform?

Perhaps Bisciotti realizes this and he’s willing to let other teams establish the market for Ray Lewis. Now there may be a former coach of Lewis’ who might fall in love with the idea of bringing Ray in to be a leader and a role model. And if such a team is willing to pay through the nose for Ray, the Ravens like the 49ers, Cowboys and Chargers before them, must be ready to say goodbye.

After all, it’s just business, nothing personal.

Photo by Sabina Moran