Ray Lewis is set to return to action soon, and he is looking more intense than ever. If you thought that wasn't possible, wait until you see Lewis' new facemask.
The Baltimore Ravens linebacker, who has been sidelined since Oct. 14 with a torn triceps, is ready to return to action. And he is looking fierce.
The Ravens sent out this picture of Lewis at practice this week debuting his new facemask. It appears to be of the "grille" variety, a look popularized by Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty. The facemask features 12 diagonal bars and six horizontal ones, creating a tightly spaced cage that is virtually impossible for opposing players to grab on to.
Canty began wearing the specialized facemask to protect his eye after it was damaged by an errant bottle in a bar fight.
Canty's teammate, Justin Tuck, also began wearing the facemask recently. But Tuck's reasoning was different. He is wearing the mask because it is more difficult for opposing lineman to grab a hold of.
The idea behind the grille makes a ton of sense, and Tuck knew it wasn't long before it caught on across the league.
"Everybody is like, 'Can I get that facemask?' No, it’s exclusive to me, no one else can have it," Tuck said before the season. "But it’s a copycat league in everything people do so I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few of those floating around before we play."
Many thought Lewis would be out for the year when he suffered the injury against the Cowboys. Not only was that wrong, he returned much earlier than even the most optimistic prognosticators expected.
And with this new facemask, Lewis is signaling that he is ready to get back to business. So watch out, NFL.
(H/T to Deadspin)