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Sports

January 6, 2013

Lewis gets to dance again after Ravens playoff win

(Continued)

BALTIMORE —

As the clock approached the two-minute warning, fans behind the Baltimore sideline chanted in unison, "Thank you, Ray!"

Then, with 1:57 left, the scoreboard aired a montage of Lewis' finest plays, including several crushing hits. He responded by clasping his hands together over his head, tapping his heart and waving.

Minutes before the opening kickoff, Lewis thrilled the sellout crowd during introductions by coming out of the tunnel and gyrating to the tune "Hot in Herre."

Hundreds of fans had their cellphones raised to either take a picture or videotape the moment. The players were captivated by the scene, too.

"I'm sure everyone was affected by it," Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. "We all wanted to play for him and make sure it wasn't his last game."

Lewis does the dance only before home games, and this was Baltimore's last this season at M&T Bank Stadium. Asked if he might consider a reprise if the Ravens reach the Super Bowl, he sheepishly declined comment.

After concluding pre-game warmups, Lewis addressed the entire team on the 5-yard line. After his short speech, Lewis hugged a few teammates, mingled with family members beyond the end zone and jogged to the sideline, where he engaged in a lengthy embrace with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Thousands of fans were wearing No. 52 jerseys. Lewis has been a fan favorite in Baltimore since he was selected in the first round of the Ravens' initial draft in 1996.

Ken Malik, 61, wore a purple Lewis jersey and a broad smile.

"It's the end of an era for the Baltimore Ravens," he said. "He's been a great player. He's stood for what the Baltimore Ravens are and what they have been since they (came) to Baltimore."

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