Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis announced in a press conference Wednesday that he will be retiring from football after this season comes to an end.
Lewis, who recently turned 37, has been with the Baltimore Ravens since 1996 and has been considered one of the best linebackers in the league, as well as one of the best players in Ravens history.
Lewis has been voted NFL Defensive Player of the Year and has gone to 12 Pro Bowls during his 17 seasons playing in the NFL, reports ESPN. Lewis has played exclusively for the Ravens and has been long considered a leader within the defensively-focused team.
Lewis said in the press conference, “God is calling. My children have made the ultimate sacrifice for their father for 17 years. I don’t want to see them do that no more. I’ve done what I wanted to do in this business, and now it’s my turn to give them something back.”
Fellow linebacker Terrell Suggs said “It was sad. It affected me, because for the past 10 years of my career I’ve been sitting right next to the man and going to war on Sundays. It’s going to one hard last ride, and we need to make it one to remember.”
Lewis will still play the remainder of games during this post season as the Ravens advance into the playoffs.