Head coach John Harbaugh has said that he is "convinced that Ray (Lewis) wants to finish his career as Raven. And there's no question the Baltimore Ravens definitely want Ray." All according to Ken Murray of the Baltimore Sun with the quotes being told to the USA Today.
One particular quote by Harbaugh probably won't ease anyone's worries about Ray leaving: "Ray Lewis is going to be a guy we're going to pay a lot of money to in order to keep." But it was assured that Steve Bisciotti would pay more than any other team. Still though, it is a little unsettling to talk about your defensive leader as a person you will "pay a lot of money to keep," as if you didn't want to but had to.
This situation has gotten increasingly difficult to maintain since the beginning. Some national football analysts believe Lewis is not coming back, but considering all that has been said, he should be in a Ravens uniform next season. Ray Lewis has every right to want top dollar for his performance, and John Harbaugh should want his defensive leader back. Bisciotti has not been the most fluent when it came to talking about the money matters, but he should be bringing him back. His own teammates, mainly Terrell Suggs, want him to return. Basically, anything less would be a tremendous disappointment. This situarion has not been handled well, but just because two big market teams want him does not mean they will.
Re-signing Ray Lewis is the #1 priority in the free agent period. Nothing else is as important. Harbaugh knows it.
He won't take a hometown discount, and he won't return for the goodness of his heart. But he knows what it means to be here and that the Ravens want him back. And he will, we all hope.
(Photo credit: Flickr)