(Photograph: Reuters/ Joe Giza)
Ray Lewis, 37-year-old Baltimore Ravens linebacker, seemed to be rubbing off on his team as he glorified God before and after winning the AFC Championship while solidifying a spot in the Super Bowl.
During the singing of the National Anthem on Sunday, Lewis was shown tearfully mouthing what looked to be the phrase "thank you my father" before his team bested the New England Patriots to win the AFC Championship game 28-13. Lewis, a Christian linebacker who has been vocal about his faith while recently announcing his retirement from the NFL, glorified God while speaking to his team in the Gillette Stadium visitors' locker room following a big win that would lead them to the Super Bowl.
"I just said that God doesn't make mistakes." Lewis said after earning a spot in Super Bowl XLVII. "He's never made one mistake. There was no way that He was going to bring us back here twice to feel that same feeling. We're back, but this time we're on our way to the Super Bowl."
While Lewis only recently made a return to the football field following a torn tricep that he has been healing since October, he managed to contribute a team-high 14 tackles in the Patriots defeat. John Harbaugh, Ravens head coach, said he was in awe of how far Lewis' faith has carried the linebacker who has a chance to win a second Super Bowl ring before ending his NFL career.
"I'm just feeling an incredible amount of awe in the work that God can do in one man's life. To me, Ray is the epitome of that. Ray is a guy that has turned everything over. He's surrendered everything and become the man that he is today and he's a different man then he was at 22," Harbaugh said of Lewis, the linebacker who has been a Raven since 1996. "Everybody sees that right now and it's a great thing for kids to see, it's a great thing for fathers to see. It's a great thing for athletes to see. It's a very special deal."
Lewis did not hesitate to tell the media how amazing God has been throughout his career and final NFL season.
"Honestly, God is so amazing. But if you're in our locker room, we just..it's something special. The love that we have for each other. For me to come out and say that this is our last ride and for me to be headed back to the Super Bowl. How else do you cap off a career?"