Wednesday, February 25, 2009

As midnight Thursday approaches, the Ray Lewis drama heightens

Make no mistake about it, free agency lures Ray Lewis because it feeds his ego. Lewis wants to be wanted. He’s a Cheap Trick song and come 12:01 am on Friday, Lewis’ ipod may as well be playing I Want You to Want Me.

Lewis knows what he has in Baltimore. He’s the team leader and he has the adoration of the Ravens’ fan base. He also has what is believed to be $12 million in guarantees sitting on a conference room table somewhere within the walls of the castle that sits at One Winning Drive.

But I guess that isn’t enough – at least not for now.

Back at the end of November, Lewis was asked about his pending status as a free agent.

"If the season ends and I'm a totally free agent, for the first time in my life I will be totally free," he said. "You know what that feels like for a man? It's one thing to deal with a contract. It's one thing to deal with life without a contract. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel to make my own decision."

Gee the shackles of a recently expired $50 million contract sure can strap a man’s freedom now can’t they?

Well we will all soon learn exactly what rewards freedom will afford Lewis. But as the dawn of free agency creeps up on us, it begs a few interesting questions that those emotionally detached from the situation have to define as compelling.

What will the market offer Lewis particularly when most agree that his value is the greatest in Baltimore? If the deep pockets of Jerry Jones fall out of the mix for Lewis as reported how might that impact market value?

If Baltimore’s offer is in fact $12 million guaranteed and they know Lewis best, why would another team offer more knowing that they won’t get the Ray Lewis that wears a Ravens’ uniform?

What if while Lewis is being wined and dined in a way that I’m sure he’ll covet given his gargantuan ego, the Ravens sign Bart Scott? What then? Wouldn’t that put a dent in the negotiating leverage of Lewis’ agent David Dunn now that the fallback option, the ace in the hole, namely the Baltimore Ravens is no longer the ace in the hole. Would the $12 million still be on the table and without those bargaining chips might prospective new employers suddenly offer less for Dunn’s client?

What if at the end of the day Lewis comes crawling back to the Ravens, wanting that $12 million and it isn’t there or it isn’t much more than the guaranteed money given to Scott? Could Lewis suck it up, check his ego at the door and continue to lead and play the way he did in 2008?

After all, it’s just business, right?

Might these lingering questions force Dunn to panick, save face and get a Lewis deal done before Friday morning? Perhaps his agenda isn't consistent with Lewis'.

Add it all up and it is a very compelling saga that could have a happy ending for Ravens fans or it could become a red letter day for Baltimore comparable to the day Johnny Unitas left the horseshoe behind for a lightning bolt.

Clearly one thing is certain – it will be dramatic as most things are with Ray Lewis when he’s busy off the field.

Ravens fans this is your captain for Plight No. 52 speaking.

We are expected some turbulence ahead so please fasten your seatbelt.


Mark, Reisterstown said...

Most of the things Ray says I find to be contradictory to his actions, starting with his views on religion.

Most devout believers thank God for things, ask for strength and forgiveness, and try to act in the manner He would approve of. Not Ray.

Ray thanks Him, totally lacks humility, is self centered, arogant, and makes himself great. Bascially, it is a religion that is all benefits but no work.

Then you mix in the Deion Sanders influence, a man who makes athletes feel a sense of entitlement under a religious guise.

And for Ray to say that he feels free to be done with a contract is idiotic, as if he could play anywhere without one. It's not like you just got divorced and plan on moving in with another woman.

Ravcolt said...

In the last 13 years, 12 teams won the Super Bowl without Ray Lewis. Theerefore, according to the data, it can be done.

Rafael said...

I say let Lewis go, use that $$ to sign Scott & Brown and give Suggs a decent contract. I'm sorry but if we are just talking about sentimentality, and really what more can we except from a 34 year old MLB, then it would idiocy to lose one of the former EXCELLENT & YOUNG players for a symbol. Brown is an integral part of an O line that is starting to show promise, thanks to the person that will grow to be the TRUE team leader, Flacco, and Suggs & Scott are essential to our top-ranked defense. Why give up players that are 26, 27 years old, just for Lewis who may have 1 or 2 good years left? We shouldn't. Let him go, build the team on the young.

Mark G said...

Let 'em walk.. It's all about the money.. These morons don't give a crap about anyone but theirselves.. People are losing their jobs, their homes, being forced to shell out outrageous prices if they want season tickets, the economy is in the tank... To hell w/it.. I've had enough of it... I wish I was crying the blues that $15Mil isn't enough money... Boo-Hoo Ray, this town supported you all these years, and now you show us your TRUE colors... Blue and Silver.. C-YA!

Nick (of time) said...

The way I look at it, Ray giveth and Ray taketh away. Good luck to him.

Barry from Beltsville, MD said...

Another spot on analysis you've given. In the insanity of the Ray Lewis lottery, I go to TL first
and foremost for proper perspective. I don't think any of us have a problem with Ray Lewis doing hard ball negotiating, that's part of accepted business and we all know Ray says "it just business" right?


The ego equation- since 2000 Ray's ego has grown exponentially each
year, fueled by the ball club, the media and us the fans, to where he
walks his kingdom as a god (small g) among men losing touch with the
reality, as many players have, that the fans are the actual bosses, the ball club just the middle man who collects the money for the pay check.

He does not seem to be readily available for interviews unless it is on his terms, he is nowhere that I see after tough losses. I don't mean to bust on him. I appreciate Ray's talent and the contribution he makes to the ball club in so many ways. I definitely believe we would be a better team with him in B'more this year, however , if he would have
just keep his mouth shut about desiring to play for other teams I might actually be in his corner to overpay a little to retain him.

I guess I'm too old school for the reality of today's sports
athlete.For some strange reason I feel betrayed by him for this, maybe I should not dilute myself and expect some loyalty on his part to the fan base, but I do .

If this is truly the way he feels, is my two cent opinion not to pay him one penny over his worth to the team. I believe Ozzie is playing this very, very well as I believe, like you, that the big market Ray Lewis is expecting most likely may not be there. At that point (assuming we have locked Bart up) Ozzie moves to check mate with Ray and we are then in
the position of retaining him at possiblly even a reduced rate or
releasing him and bolstering the defense through internal moves and
possibly free agency.

Sorry for the rambling, just wanted to get that off my chest, I feel better:-)

Have a great day Tony!

Harryos29 said...

Harry O 29 Feb 26th ...i.e. 11th hour for FA.
RAVECOLT said it best. In the last 13 years, 12 teams won the superbolw without Ray Lewis. Having been in the locker room for 2 summers of Summer Camp at Mc Daniel; All I saw was Arrogance!
Again, the JOHN FEINSTIEN Therom.

bye bye Ray

Anonymous said...

We've got Jameel McClain, Tavares Gooden, Antwan Barnes, Prescott Burgess, Brandon Ayanbadejo, Robert McCune, JJ, and Terrell Suggs. And we're still dicking around with Ray Lewis? Please.

While at that the Ravens have concluded that Jason Brown "doesn't fit into their 2009 plans", we have....drum roll please...CHRIS CHESTER.

What's wrong with this picture? The exact same thing that's been wrong since the Ravens decided that Casey Rabach didn't "fit into their plans" way back when.

Speaking of when...when is enough enough already?

Harryos29 said...

harry o 29 Feb 26th 10 pm
Drum Roll please: They say that those who don't pay attention to history are destined to repeat it; Hear that MR PREZ?..opps.. this is a SPORTS SITE>..
... My point is we lost Casey Rabach a promising center a few years back; Now we have a budding super star in JASON BROWN who did a masterful job of opening holes for our runners and protecting Joe Flacco. HELLO??? OZZIE...Sign this valuable player for your offense: Else, he is going down the Rt 95 to follow in Caseys footsteps to Join the REDSKINS.

Jerry Brotman said...

No one is more deserving of a big "final" contract than Ray Lewis! From ownership to the players, the game today is all! Speaking of money, the Redskins just signed Haynesworth and Hall to rich contracts - how is it that they "manage" to spend, spend, spend every year without encountering "cap" problems?!

Harryos29 said...

harry o 29 Feb 27th 10;55 pm
PFT is reporting that JASON BROWN went for the $$ money and took the $7 mil offer from St LOUIS. IMHO ..Jason will Live to regret that one.
At least Georgia F is no longer around to mess up the Franchise...but ST LOUIS??

Anonymous said...

Well...Friday AND Monday have come and gone, and still no deal with Ray Lewis. I wonder what that means.

And Harry0 -- I could be wrong ('s happened once or twice. LOL) but I really think the Ravens are going to live to regret the loss of Brown more than Brown is going to regret going to the Rams. Remember what you said about failing to learn the lessons of the past...