The Ravens now know they won't have one future Hall of Fame player next season when linebacker Ray Lewis announced his retirement Wednesday. Could this be the last home game for another one as well?
An end of an era could be looming for the Ravens if safety Ed Reed joins Lewis in not returning to Baltimore. Like Lewis, Reed isn't the same player from a five years ago. Unlike Lewis, Reed has no plans to retire (at least not this offseason).
Reed will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. It's unknown whether he'll be back because Reed has tried unsuccessfully to get a new deal with the Ravens for the past two seasons.
The Ravens probably won't be willing to pay Reed the $7.2 million that he received this season. Like the Ravens did with Lewis a few years ago, Baltimore could allow Reed to test the free-agent market, knowing its offer is the best one that he'll get.
But there is a chance that Reed will sign with another team. That would mean the Ravens would go into 2013 without Lewis or Reed, two players who have defined this defense and this franchise. Lewis and Reed may go down as the best players to ever play their positions.
Suddenly, Sunday has become more than a playoff game. It could be the day when Baltimore says goodbye to two Hall of Fame players.