After his retirement, as the Ravens erected a statue of him, Ray Lewis said, "Baltimore is forever my city."
Now, amidst city-wide tension and following Monday's riots, Lewis is backing up his promise.
Lewis is skipping out on the NFL Draft in Chicago to stay in Baltimore and try to help the community. He was slated to be one of ESPN's on-set draft analysts from Thursday to Saturday.
"I felt that it was more important for me to stay in Baltimore and try to help the city I love," Lewis said in a statement. "I greatly appreciate ESPN's understanding and flexibility at this late date. I did not feel right leaving the city at this time."
Lewis spent his entire 17-year career in Baltimore and made a tremendous impact in the community during that time, so much so that a street in Baltimore was dedicated "Ray Lewis Way" in 2010. He made many public and private visits to distressed communities.
His work isn't done, and it's clear the city's recent turmoil is weighing heavy on Lewis' mind. He once again delivered a passionate speech in the name of peace. He released a statement to those rioting on his Facebook page Tuesday morning.
I've got a message for the rioters in Baltimore. #BaltimoreRiots Posted by Ray Lewis on Tuesday, April 28, 2015