OWINGS MILLS, Md. >> Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis will miss the remainder of the season with an arm injury, an enormous blow to an already depleted defense that has uncharacteristically struggled this year.
Lewis tore his right triceps during Sunday’s 31-29 victory over Dallas. The 37-year-old Lewis leads Baltimore in tackles and is the voice of experience in the huddle.
“Ray in the locker room afterward, we didn’t know (the extent of the injury) but he was worried about it,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “He said some things about his faith. He said some things that I’ll never forget.”
Lewis turns 38 in May, so it’s possible that Sunday’s game was his last.
“That’s for Ray to speak on,” Harbaugh said.
Over a spectacular 17-year career, Lewis has been invited to 13 Pro Bowls, was named Super Bowl MVP and is a two-time NFL defensive player of the year.
Baltimore also lost cornerback Lardarius Webb for the year after he tore the ACL in his left knee Sunday. The injury occurred when Webb collided with Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant in the first quarter.
For Harbaugh, it was more about Lewis and Webb than the impact losing them would have on the team.
“I’m disappointed for those guys,” Harbaugh said. “It doesn’t matter how I or someone else feels about it. It’s their thing. These are guys that put so much effort, heart and soul into what they do.”
Webb missed the latter part of his rookie season in 2009 with a torn right ACL, and now he’s facing surgery again.
“Lardarius was distraught. I could see it when I walked onto the field, on his face,” Harbaugh said. “He kind of knew because he’s been through it before. I just felt like he knew. He was just beside himself.”
Webb, who turned 27 last week, probably has many years left to play. Lewis’ status is not as certain.
Lewis missed four games last year with a toe injury. During the week and on game day he cheered for his teammates and offered encouragement. That, evidently, will be his job over the next few months.
“When you look at his situation and what he’s accomplished, and what he was hoping to accomplish this year, he’s going to have to accomplish those things in different ways because that’s the way it’s gone,” Harbaugh said. “He puts his faith in providence. That’s where he’s going to go with that.”
Jameel McClain and Dannell Ellerbe will fill the void left by Lewis’ absence. It’s the same role they filled last year.
“Those guys have played a lot of football and we’ve got a lot of confidence in those guys, Jameel and Dannell,” Harbaugh said. “We feel good about that.”
Jimmy Smith will probably step in for Webb.
The Ravens (5-1) have struggled to make up for the loss of linebacker Terrell Suggs, who is recovering from a torn right Achilles tendon. Baltimore yielded 487 yards, a franchise-record 227 on the ground, against Dallas on Sunday.
Next on the schedule for Baltimore is a trip to Houston (5-1) in a rematch of last year’s playoff game.