Sharpe: Ray Lewis to decide after season

Shannon Sharpe told USA Today that linebacker Ray Lewis will make a decision on whether he's playing in 2013 after his rehab.

Lewis tore the triceps muscle in his right arm Sunday and will likely need at least four months to recover from the injury. The two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year has yet to talk to reporters since getting hurt.

"He said, 'Right now, I need to stay positive for my team," said Sharpe, the Hall of Fame tight end who has been one of Lewis' closest friends since winning the Super Bowl with him in 2000.

It's a little surprising that Lewis is even thinking about retirement. As I wrote earlier this week, Lewis is the type of player who will want to leave the game on his own terms and not have his last play be the one where he got hurt.

But Lewis has hinted that he is close to calling it quits. Last summer, he said he couldn't see playing past the age of 37. He turns 38 in May. And Lewis has talked about his desire to watch his son play football at the University of Miami when he becomes a freshman running back in 2013.

Sharpe said he won't make any predictions on what Lewis will decide. But he was surprised how Lewis sounded when he called him Sunday night.

"I was surprised by how good his spirits were," Sharpe said. "I was expecting him to be down. When I broke my collarbone, I cried like a baby. That was not the case with him."