When the Ravens take the field Thursday night in Denver, it will be the first time in 17 years that Ray Lewis will not be on the roster.
But if Ray Rice has his way, Lewis will still be on the sidelines.
Rice has talked with Lewis and asked him to come with the team to Denver for the season opener.
"You might have to make the trip," Rice told Lewis over text message. "I think the guys, if he's not going to be working, would embrace seeing him on the sidelines. Not sure how he'll take it. He'll probably want to suit up a little bit."
Since retiring after Super Bowl XLVII, Lewis has not been around the Under Armour Performance Center much. He's making the post-football transition to his new career as a broadcaster, and he will make his debut with ESPN next Sunday.
Before making the move to the television studio, Rice hopes that his former mentor will make the trip out west to be with his old team.
"I told him that it would be good to see him because no matter what, everybody is always going to look up to [him]. What [he's] built in Baltimore will last forever," Rice said.
"I hope he comes out there. It would be good to see him show up. That's your brother. That's your comrade. We've fought many battles together. My locker was right next to his. I got to dust off his cleats a little bit. It would be good to see him if he can make it out there, but I'm sure he'll be there in spirit with us."
Regardless of whether Lewis shows up in Denver Thursday night, the Ravens are going through this week of preparation without the future Hall of Famer in the building. They have made the adjustment to life without Lewis, and the routine leading up to the opener has not changed much now that* *he's gone.
"It doesn't feel different at all," linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "5-2 was special. There will never be another man that did it like he did it. The regime, like I said at the start of training camp, we all will be held to that standard. It really doesn't matter who the guy in the middle is. Every man on this team will be held to the standard and the legacy that was built by him."
Suggs will likely take Lewis' place as the man in the middle of the pre-game huddle to fire up the team. Suggs took over that role during the preseason.
Lewis' pre-game speeches have been a staple with the Ravens for more than a decade, and now having a new face fire up the team will make the gameday routine a little different for the Ravens.
"In that huddle on Sundays, we've only had a couple times where somebody else has come up and gotten us ready to go," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "It will definitely be different without Ray. You notice him on Sundays before the game and during the game, but we got a bunch of guys that react very well to it.
"I'm sure there will come a time when we're getting ready to take the field that we'll think, 'Man, Ray's not here.' And kind of just have some good thoughts about him and then go play."