BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Ray Lewis is not just a leader on the field. He is a leader in this city. The news of his retirement is tough for fans to take.

Meghan McCorkell spoke with Ravens nation about losing Ray Lewis.

It is a rough day for fans of the purple and black, as they learn this is the last dance for No. 52.

Photo Gallery: Ray Lewis Career Retrospective  

It’s the end of an era in Baltimore.

“You can’t think about the Ravens without thinking about Ray Lewis,” said John Fegan, of  Salisbury.

“I mean, he’s their backbone. I don’t know what they’re going to do without him,” said Sharon Mezydlo, of Bel Air.

But this Sunday will be Lewis’ last dance on M&T Bank Field.

“I think Ray Lewis has laid the foundation for the rest of the Ravens’ defense,” said Jay Revere, of Severn.

From framed posters to jerseys, No. 52 merchandise is flying off the shelves.

Just hours after the news was announced, the crew at Nightmare Graphics worked overtime to get commemorative shirts printed.

“We’re keeping a late crew here tonight, and we’ll come in early in the morning,” said Fred Fillah, Fans Only LLC.

Photo Gallery: Purple Playoff Pride 

News of Lewis’ retirement shocked the city and his teammates.

“Everybody was quiet. Everybody walked out like somebody had died. It was just emotional,” said Lardarius Webb, Ravens cornerback.

WJZ caught up with Webb on his radio show for WJZ FM 105.7 The Fan with teammate Ed Dickson.

“There’s that camaraderie in the locker room that Ray Lewis brings that makes it a real brotherhood,” said Dickson, Ravens tight end.

“He motivates everybody: fans, teammates, everybody,” said Bo Fowler, of Owings Mills.

That motivation extends beyond the football field.

Thousands of children have been helped through the Ray Lewis 52 Foundation.

The city even has a street named after Lewis.

“Baltimore, I can say many things, but what I do want to say is that I love you all with every inch of my soul,” Lewis said.

And Baltimore loves him back.

The Ray Lewis tribute shirts are hot off the presses. They are now available in stores across the area.

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