Surrounded by his teammates as smoke, fire and pyrotechnics signaled his swaggering arrival out of the tunnel, retiring Ravens star middle linebacker Ray Lewis had a huge grin on his face as he made his dramatic entrance.
As the fans at M&T Bank Stadium held their camera phones to capture the moment, Lewis enthusiastically performed his trademark “Squirrel” dance in front of the home crowd one last time.
Lewis gyrated, shook and celebrated as he soaked up the adulation from an adoring home crowd.
During pregame warmups, Lewis was embraced constantly by well-wishers.
That included hugs from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, owner Steve Bisciotti, teammates like running back Ray Rice and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, his children and brother Keon Lattimore, a former Maryland running back.
It was an emotional sequence that reached its fever pitch when Lewis did his dance to the familiar sounds of rapper Nelly’s “Hot in Here.”
Lewis was a game captain along with free safety Ed Reed, Rice and Ayanbadejo.
Minutes later after the Colts won the coin toss and opted to receive, Lewis was lined up at his traditional middle linebacker spot with the starting defense one more time in Baltimore.
Lewis had missed the final 10 games of the regular season with a torn triceps suffered against the Dallas Cowboys that required surgery.
Now, Lewis has begun what he termed his “final ride.”
At 1:19 p.m. during the Colts’ second series, Lewis anticipated the snap well on an inside blitz and brushed past a blocker to tackle rookie running back Vick Ballard for a loss of 1 yard.
When he got up, he celebrated with his teammates with his day off to a solid start and no signs of trouble so far with his surgically-repaired right arm.
Article courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.