When Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis announced his impending retirement before the first game of the playoffs, the team rallied around him, honoring Lewis with both pomp and circumstance and inspired play.
When cheerleader Courtney Lenz, 23, announced her retirement at the end of the regular season, the Ravens reportedly left her off the Super Bowl cheerleading squad. Lenz, a five-year veteran, quit the team after getting a full-time job in marketing. Fans have taken up an online petition to try to get Lenz to cheer in the Super Bowl.
"I wouldn't even have reached out and let fans know if I didn't think it was clearly wrong," Lenz told ABCNews.com. "I'm just devastated by the whole situation. ...They've been really hard on me this year since I told them I was leaving,"
Lenz said she received an email last week with the names of the 32 cheerleaders who would join the team in New Orleans.
"I was the only three-plus year veteran that [is] not going," she said. " I immediately thought it was a mistake."
The Ravens said they had to cut the 60-member squad down to 32 and that Lenz did not make the cut.
The main contributors to The Buzz are:
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Gary Dzen, Boston.com senior sports producer
- Zuri Berry, Boston.com sports producer