(Reuters) - Baltimore Ravens' linebacker Ray Lewis, a 13-time Pro Bowler and one of the NFL's most ferocious defensive players, announced on Wednesday he was retiring after this season.
"This will be my last ride," Lewis, 37, said in a statement.
The AFC North champion Ravens are hosting the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in the opening round of the playoffs, but it was not certain Lewis would be activated for the game.
Lewis has not played since he tore his triceps during a Week Six win over the Dallas Cowboys in October, although he was activated last month.
The inside linebacker, twice the NFL Defensive Player of the Year and most valuable player of Baltimore's Super Bowl XXXV victory over the New York Giants, issued his statement after addressing his team mates.
"I can't picture Baltimore without him," running back Ray Rice told reporters about the Ravens' first-round pick of the 1996 NFL draft who spent his entire 17-year career with the Ravens.
(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York, Editing by Steve Keating in Toronto.)
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