Ray Lewis was targeted by the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII (USA Today Sports Images)
Future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis will end his NFL career with a parade through the streets of Baltimore and, later this year, a ring ceremony with his teammates.
Lewis was the center of attention after the game and was a player that the 49ers tried to attack on offense. But CBS analyst Trevor Pryce was critical of his former teammate's performance during an appearance on Monday's edition of "The Jim Rome Show" on CBS.
"Half of his playoff check should go to Dannell Ellerbe for making that last play on that last fade route," said Pryce. "The other half to Greg Roman, the 49ers offensive coordinator.
"I think (Lewis) played with a case of the nerves. I think he had the yips. I really do."
Lewis is clearly not the same player he once was. He struggled to get off his blocks, looked real bad on a play where 49ers running back Frank Gore side-stepped him in the hole and Lewis could not react quickly enough to keep up with 49ers receivers and tight ends that came into his area on crossing routes. At 37, Lewis is already deep into the "bonus round" of his NFL career and it probably is time for him to hang up his cleats, put on a suit for his duties at ESPN and await his call from Canton. After all, Dick Butkus was 31 and Mike Singletary was 34 when they retired.
While age and the body simply not responding as quickly to the brain's directives as it once did were the likely causes of Lewis' average (some might say below average) performance on Sunday night, Pryce thinks it was nerves.
"He had it bad; he didn’t look like himself, even his new self. Forget his old self, that guy’s gone, that guy’s named Patrick Willis," Pryce said. "But even the guy he was last week, he wasn’t that guy. He had a case of it bad, badly. It was almost like he was just hoping let’s get this over with."
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