Next stop on the Ray Lewis Farewell Tour: New England.
The Ravens linebacker, veteran of 17 NFL seasons, announced January 1 that this year would be his last in football. The declaration came just days after Lewis was activated off short-term injured reserve. A torn triceps against Dallas in October kept him off the field for weeks, but the designation to return made it clear he would be there for his team in the playoffs.
Lewis made his comeback. Now, his impending retirement only fuels the emotional fire of Baltimore's postseason run.
What does that mean for the Patriots? Head coach Bill Belichick kept his comments low key on his Tuesday conference call."Ray's an instinctive player, always has been," Belichick said. "Very good in the running game, play-action, screen passes, things like that. Does a good job with the underneath combination of patterns. He certainly controls the defense in terms of checks and adjustments, that kind of thing."
Belichick has no problem complimenting a talented players on any team. But he's not about to sentimentally eulogize an opponent who wants to see his team burn in the AFC Championship.
Is Lewis headed for the Hall of Fame? Sure. But this week he's part of a Ravens defense that Belichick needs to break down.
"Schematically, I'd say they're pretty similar," the coach noted. "They kind of have their package of stuff they're pretty good at and they did that when he's been in there and when he hasn't.
"But he certainly adds a lot. I'm sure that they're glad that he's back in there for a variety of reasons: Plays, leadership, being able to quarterback the defense. He's done a good job for them since he's come back in there."
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