Ravens 'respect' Jamal Lewis' decision to sell Super Bowl ring

The Baltimore Ravens are holding no hard feelings against Jamal Lewis after the franchise's leading rusher sold a Super Bowl ring, which was given to him as a gift, for $50,820.

This is the statement that was released by the Ravens on Monday: “Jamal Lewis informed us that he was forced to sell the Super Bowl XLVII ring due to financial difficulties. We understand and respect his decision.”

The organization didn't have to say anything about Lewis, who filed for bankruptcy in 2012. So, this was a nice gesture by the Ravens, almost as nice as owner Steve Bisciotti giving out Super Bowl rings to every member of the team's Ring of Honor.

While this serves as a reminder of how many athletes quickly fall on dire financial straits, it shouldn't diminish what Lewis did for the franchise. The Ravens wouldn't have won the Super Bowl in 2000 without Lewis carrying the offense, and they wouldn't have reached the playoffs in 2003 without Lewis producing one of the best seasons in NFL history.

It didn't matter whether defenses stacked the box with eight or nine players. Lewis used his unique combination of power and speed to muscle past defensive linemen and outrun defensive backs. He also took a hit instead of going out of bounds if it meant gaining some yards.

Lewis was the Ravens' best offensive player behind Hall of Fame left tackle Jonathan Ogden. During the Ravens' 11-game winning streak in 2000, Lewis accounted for 42 percent of the offense and gained 102 yards in the Super Bowl victory against the Giants. Three years later, he ran for 2,066 yards, which ranked second all time in the NFL at that point.

Selling a Super Bowl ring is far from Lewis' proudest moments. But let's not forget about all of the unforgettable moments he gave to this franchise.