The Decision Making of a Champion: Ray Lewis Decides to Retire After 17 Seasons

The Decision Making of a Champion: Ray Lewis Decides to Retire After 17 Seasons

127898662You will NOT become what you’re destined to become until you first make the DECISION to become – John R. Salkowski

After 17 seasons, Ray Lewis with the Baltimore Ravens who has defined the team’s defensive excellence announced his decision to retire Wednesday, telling teammates that “this will be my last ride.”

What made Ray Lewis’ decision to retire so easy for him? After 17 seasons and 37 years old he still has what it takes to play the middle linebacker position like an All-Pro.

Ray Lewis told his teammates and media, “I just feel so much peace in where I am with my decision because of everything I’ve done in this league. There’s no accolade that I don’t have individually but I’ve never played the game for individual stats. I’ve only played the game to make my team be a better team.”

“Now, God is calling,” Lewis said. “God is calling in so many other areas of life and my children have made the ultimate sacrifice for their father, the ultimate for 17 years. Whether it’s jump on the plane, jump right back, go to school, and I don’t want to see them do no more. I’ve done what I wanted to do in this business and now, it’s my turn to give them back something. It’s either hold onto the game or keep playing or let my kids miss out on times we could be sharing together. I promised my son if he got a full-ride scholarship, Daddy was going to be there. I can’t miss that. I don’t know if I could sit in a meeting room and fight with that war.”

Ray Lewis describes above his “Why” on making the decision to retire. It all begins and ends with our “Why”. His decision was made from his “gut” or as some call it, his “inter-voice talking” to him. If you want to be great at whatever you do, you must first have a “Why”. His “Why” 17 seasons ago was to be the best middle linebacker to ever play the game. He played every game with heart, enthusiasm, energy, passion and the will to win.

17 seasons later his “Why” is his children. He now wants to be there for them. After all the years of their sacrifice and adversity they have been through, he’s now saying it’s his turn.

Lewis, who had been the NFL’s longest tenured defensive player with his original team, leaves the Ravens and the sport with a résumé that puts him in the conversation as one of the best middle linebackers in NFL history, and a lock for the Hall of Fame.

He was selected for 13 Pro Bowl teams, tabbed as an Associated Press All-Pro 10 times, garnered NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors twice and was named the Super Bowl XXXV MVP after the Ravens’ triumph over the New York Giants.

About the Author

John R. Salkowski is a retired Police Officer after an impressive 15 year career who is now a Highly Sought-After Leadership and Motivational Speaker and Trainer. John can speak for crowds ranging from 20-20,000 sharing his unique leadership strategies in his signature presentation:

“Leadership in the Line of Duty”™
Split-Second Decision Secrets Revealed that All Self-Made Millionaires Know ™

John regularly speaks for a variety of leaders (ranging from entry level to experienced executives) for corporations, business groups, associations, colleges, universities, youth groups and sports organizations. Pulling from his 15 years of real world, in-the-trenches (and even life and death) Law Enforcement situations, John now teaches leaders one of the most important key components of leadership (that is often overlooked):

“How to make split-second leadership decisions when the direction and success of your organization depends on it!”

John has received numerous distinguished awards for Bravery, Merit and Unit Citations. He has also received several employee recognition awards for serving as a leader within his community, including being featured in the Philadelphia Magazine as one of the area’s Top Business Leaders.

Any organization that wants to develop their people into becoming “Extraordinary Leaders” needs to hire John for a keynote and/or workshop training.
To request John to speak at your next event, please email his office at

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