Ray Lewis spent 17 seasons instilling fear in his opponents while serving as an inspirational leader for the Baltimore Ravens.
Now he's poised and eager to become a full-time dad.
Lewis announced Wednesday he will end his brilliant NFL career after the Ravens complete their 2013 playoff run.
Lewis has been sidelined since Oct. 14 with a torn right triceps. The 13-time Pro Bowl middle linebacker intends to return Sunday to face the Indianapolis Colts in what will almost certainly be his final home game.
"Everything that starts has an end," the 37-year-old Lewis said. "For me, today, I told my team that this will be my last ride."
Lewis will walk away from the game because he wants to spend more time with his sons. While working to return from his injury, Lewis watched two of his boys play on the same high school football team in Florida. He intends to see Ray Lewis III perform as a freshman next year for the University of Miami, where the elder Lewis starred before the Ravens selected him in the first round of the 1996 draft.
"God is calling," Lewis said. "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."
Bengals' Dalton gets 2nd chance in hometown
Andy Dalton is getting a second chance to shine in a hometown playoff game. The first one didn't turn out very well for him.
The Bengals quarterback had one of the worst games of his rookie season in front of a lot of family and friends in Houston last year. He threw three interceptions, including one that J.J. Watt returned for a touchdown, in the Texans' 31-10 victory in the wild-card round.
Dalton grew up in suburban Katy, Texas, and he's excited to be going back for what amounts to a second chance to look good in the playoffs.
"It'll be fun," Dalton said. "There's a lot of family and (friends) around the Houston area and in Texas in general. It's definitely cool to come back and play where I'm from."
Colts' Luck wants to make most of 1st playoff game
Andrew Luck spent his rookie season dealing with the realities of the NFL.
The hand-picked successor to Peyton Manning took the hard knocks with a smile, dusted himself off and emerged as the tough, talented competitor Indianapolis coaches and scouts expected when they drafted him with the No. 1 pick.
"We know how tough he is from a mental perspective. He's going to study. He's going to prepare. We know that," coach Chuck Pagano said Wednesday. "He's unflappable, nothing bothers him."
Not the 41 sacks, not the late hits, not even the 18 interceptions. Luck has adjusted.
Despite completing less than 50 percent of his passes over the past three weeks, he has avoided throwing an interception in any of those games. He heads into his playoff debut with five wins in his last six games and a season-long streak of 105 consecutive passes without a pick.
"It's something you focus on as a quarterback, limiting turnovers, " Luck said. "I wish maybe it could have come a little sooner but glad to stay away from the interceptions the last few weeks."
Luck's completion percentage is 54.1, he threw the third-most interceptions in the league (18) and lost five fumbles, too, mistakes Luck took personally.
But if quarterbacks are judged by wins and losses, Luck is among the league's best.