Ray Lewis informed his teammates that he will be retiring at the end of this season. This piece of news shouldn’t have come as a surprise from the 37 year old, 17 year future Hall of Famer.

In fact, Lewis’ timing for this announcement makes brilliant PR sense. And as I’ve preached, that’s what the Ravens are all about.

Baltimore finds themselves as the favorites against the visiting Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, but no one outside of Charm City will be rooting for them. Indy’s rookie quarterback, Andrew Luck, and, former Ravens defensive coordinator now Colts head coach, Chuck Pagano have grabbed all the headlines and the national interest in this contest.

Suddenly, the story has shifted to Lewis. He was the player that Baltimore built their new football franchise around and after this (hopefully lengthy) postseason run, he’ll hang up the cleats and put an end to this era.

No more “Hot in Herre”. No more dancing. No more epic pre-game speeches. And that’s all anyone is going to be talking about from now until Sunday.

In addition to grabbing the attention of the country, Ray Lewis’ announcement sends shockwaves through the Ravens locker room. What kind of player wouldn’t leave it all on the field on Sunday for Lewis’ last home game?

Lewis could have made this announcement after his final game, but telling the world today inspires his teammates and makes the Ravens’ chances even better. It’s Super Bowl or bust now. This is Ray’s final chance to get that second ring. He and the team are pulling out all the stops.

Zach Wilt is the Founding Editor of Baltimore Sports Report and host of the BSR Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @zamwi or send him an email: zach@baltimoresportsreport.com