By Levan Reid, WBZ-TV

FOXBORO (CBS) — Ravens middle linebacker Ray Lewis announced he’ll retire after this year’s postseason, wrapping up 17 seasons in the NFL.

No. 52 will hang up his cleats and head right to Canton and become an NFL Hall of Famer.  He’s one of the game’s great competitors and one of its better leaders. He’s had more than one memorable matchup against Tom Brady and the Patriots, and Brady said Ray will be missed.

“He still is an incredible player and a competitor,” said Tom. “Like I said, I know so many people that have said so many things about him, in terms of guys that have played with him. They can probably speak to him the best. But it was a privilege to play against him.”

Preparing For All Possible Opponents

Saturday night will be the time that all in Patriots Nation stop rejoicing about the bye and start looking ahead to an opponent.

If the Houston Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Saturday, the Pats will play the Texans the following week.  If they lose, the Pats will play the winner of the Colts-Ravens game.  Whatever the case, in this week of preparation, Bill Belichick had the Patriots preparing for all three.

“We’ll work on everybody,” coach said. “After the Houston game, we’ll either be full speed ahead on Houston or we’ll put that in the drawer and wait and see what happens in the next game. We have to be prepared for all three of them, so that’s what we’ll do.”

The Pats are fully expected to be rested. Rob Ninkovich left the Miami game with a strained hip but was at practice by the end of this week. In fact, on Thursday the Patriots had full participation. The mood in the room is one of excitement and Bill Belichick likes it that way.

“Of course, it’s a playoff game,” he said. “That’s what we’re here for. You play all regular season to get into the playoffs. Yeah, I would hope we’re more excited and more amped up to play. It’s a higher level of competition. Not that the regular season isn’t, but the playoffs are higher, there’s no question about that.”

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