Thousands of fans were wearing No. 52 jerseys. Lewis has been a fan favorite in Baltimore since he was selected in the first round of the Ravens’ initial draft in 1996.
Ken Malik, 61, wore a purple Lewis jersey and a broad smile.
‘‘It’s the end of an era for the Baltimore Ravens,’’ he said. ‘‘He’s been a great player. He’s stood for what the Baltimore Ravens are and what they have been since they (came) to Baltimore.’’
There is no age limitation for fans of Lewis, who made his NFL debut when Kylie O'Neill-Mullin was 4. She was wearing a long black tunic with Lewis’ number on the front and back.
‘‘This is a big deal. It’s the last time he'll come out of the tunnel,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s the last time he'll play on this field. I'm excited to be here.’’
One fan had a sign with a purple heart and the No. 52 in the middle. Earlier, a helicopter flew overhead with the No. 52 painted on its undercarriage.
Lewis was elected to 13 Pro Bowls and is a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He told his teammates on Wednesday, ‘‘This will be my last ride.’’
One fan in the crowd had a sign that read: ‘‘Let’s Ride To New Orleans,’’ site of the Super Bowl. Two more wins, and the Ravens will be there.
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