As many suspected, Ray Lewis’ season and quite possibly his career have come to an end because of a torn triceps suffered on Sunday against the Cowboys. Here’s the play that did it:

At full speed, it looks about as standard a tackle as any of the 2,000 or so he made over the course of his career. But it very well may be his last. I don’t buy that Ray Lewis is the best defender or best linebacker ever, but he was a great one for a long time. He defines the team he played for more so than perhaps any other current player in the league.

I’m no fan of Ray Lewis, for a multitude of reasons. Part of that is team rivalry related, but certainly not all of it. He endlessly mugged for the cameras. He was sure to be present for chest beating when the Ravens were victorious but was almost always nowhere to be heard from when they lost. He cowed the media into not only selling his redemption story (“GOD’S LINEBACKER!”) but almost never having the gall to mention why he would need to be redeemed in the first place. Real talk: I am glad if he’s gone for good. I don’t feel bad for that. Remember, Ray cheered for injuries, too. He bragged to Sports Illustrated when he knocked Rashard Mendenhall out for the season in 2008. Why should I feel bad for him? Plus, y’know, that thing in Atlanta.

Then again, another part of me knows that, even if he never plays another snap in the NFL, Ray Lewis will never actually go away. Especially not in the near term. He’ll be on TV constantly in some capacity. This year, he’s bound to be the unofficial mascot of the Ravens, making overt shows of support on the sidelines during their games. I have no doubt he’ll still lead the pregame screaming before kickoff, with the camera positioned just so to catch all of his spiritual-sounding affectations. Hell, he might even still do his trademark spastic dance in a sling.

But he’s a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer. It’s worth noting when one of those is done with the game. More importantly, hating the Ravens just won’t be the same without him.

Piss off one last time, Ray, from one your biggest haters.