Final say belongs to Ray

Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Ray Lewis (52) dances near the end of the second half of an NFL wild card playoff football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2013, in Baltimore. Baltimore won 24-9. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Praise for Ray Lewis, and ways to discredit the Baltimore Ravens linebacker, go hand-in-hand leading up to Super Bowl XLVII.

Speaking of hands, raise yours if you're tired of hearing more about Lewis' off-the-field accusations versus his on-the-field accomplishments.

And why even try and tarnish a player like Lewis, who hands-down is considered one of the top-five linebackers to ever play in the National Football League, and days before he wraps up an illustrious career against the San Francisco 49ers?

Despite two evenly-matched teams gearing up for a showdown, two brothers coaching opposite the other, and countless other storylines, the firestorm follows Lewis for his past brushes with the law to accusations of him taking performance-enhancing drugs.

For all the questions, we know at least two things: Lewis never served a day in prison for his involvement in a 2000 double-homicide he was linked to, and he never failed a test for banned substances leading up to his final game as an NFL player on Sunday in New Orleans.

That brings us back to the field, where the game of football boils down to simple math: adding up more points than the other team and winning.

Count Lewis' accomplishments: a 17 year-career with the same franchise; a 13-time Pro Bowl pick; a seven-time All-Pro selection; a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year; and a former Super Bowl MVP (2001).

In other words, Lewis' case constitutes a blowout victory when pitted against the negativity. Along the way, Lewis' opposers scored a few points, even if they only get a platform because of Lewis' greatness.

"It's just sad that someone can have this much attention on a stage this big," Lewis said Wednesday while addressing questions about a report saying he used a banned substance to recover from a triceps injury earlier in the season.

Good thing for Lewis, he gets the final say on Sunday, and the chance to gain the upper hand.



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