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Ravens family reflect on impact of retiring Lewis

By Larry Fine

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - Ray Lewis, the only charter member of the Baltimore Ravens and only remaining player from their 2001 Super Bowl triumph, is retiring after Sunday's Super Bowl game against the San Francisco 49ers.

Here are some reflections on his impact from current and former members of the Ravens family.

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John Harbaugh, Ravens head coach

"He can coach; he can do whatever he wants. I think Ray's got big plans. Ray's that kind of guy and when he's done playing he's always a guy trying to affect people and change the way that people think and make an impact on the world. I've got a feeling he's going to do that in some big ways."

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Bernard Pollard, Ravens safety

"Ray Lewis is a guy who has been here since the beginning of this franchise. He's a guy who is 'The Raven.' We all respect him. When he speaks, everybody stops, everybody hears him. He's kept the team together. He's kept this organization together in so many ways."

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Brian Billick, former Ravens coach

"In the Super Bowl year when we were getting all those shutouts (four), we were playing Cleveland and they sucked. Guys were feeling it all week long, this was going to be another shutout.

"Cleveland comes out and goes 86 yards with the opening drive so I'm walking down the sideline, and Ray and Rod (Woodson) are coming off the field first.

"Ray looks at me and says, 'don't say a thing. I've got it.' So I go left to the Gatorade to get out of the way. They had 112 yards total for the day after giving up 86 on that drive. I said, 'okay, anytime you wanted to go do that, you go right ahead, Ray. I learned right then, to just stay out of the way."

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Vonta Leach, Ravens fullback

"Ray teaches you not only football, but sitting around talking to Ray teaches you something about life in general, about how we are here just for this moment, just relish the moment that you're in because you never know when you're going to get another chance or opportunity."

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Sean Considine, Ravens defensive back

"The leadership we get from Ray Lewis is above anything I've ever seen in my life. His ability to get others to follow him is unbelievable. When he huddles our team up, gets us all circled around him, he has the ability to look every man in the eye and just ask you to do what4ever it takes to help this team win. It's just been really impressive to be around a guy like him.

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James Ihedigbo, safety

"The thing stuck out to me when I first met Ray was his love, his unlimited love for his team mates and his love for God, his faith. The type of words that come out of his mouth that almost give you goosebumps. And just that impact and knowledge is one of a kind. I have never seen anyone command that attention.

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Ed Reed, Ravens safety

My first year here, I'm by his house and we just talk and talk and talk. I'm about to walk out the door and he wouldn't let me. And we talk for another hour about doing the little things right, and if you do the little things right as an individual, Ed, people are going to follow you and you're going to be a leader here. You're going to make plays and we'll be in the Super Bowl. And here we are."

(Reporting by Larry Fine in New Orleans; Editing by Frank Pingue)

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