Amani Toomer calls Ray Lewis caricature of himself, hypocrite

Ray Lewis answers question at Super Bowl media day. (Ryan Wilson,

You might have heard something about Ray Lewis retiring after the Super Bowl. That, along with "The Harbaughs are brothers!" are the two primary storylines in New Orleans this week.

And while no one disputes that the Ravens linebacker will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, one former player thinks paying homage to Lewis' remarkable career should be shelved in light of more pressing concerns: the Ravens have a pretty big game this Sunday.

Amani Toomer, who played for the Giants when the Ravens beat them in Super Bowl XXXV, thinks Lewis is setting the wrong tone.

"It's definitely all about him," Toomer told USA Today's Mike Garafolo. "Once a guy goes to the center of the field, goes into the victory formation on the last play of his last home game … I just don't think the Giants or any organization I've ever been a part of, even growing up, would allow somebody to single themselves out like that.

"If you single yourself out after you make a play, that's one thing," Toomer continued. "But to walk out on the field reminds me of the WWE, like The Rock coming out. You're becoming a caricature of yourself. It's exhausting. I don't know why somebody would want that."

Toomer, who once said he'd rather have Tony Romo over former teammate and two-time Super Bowl champ Eli Manning, isn't alone when it comes to Lewis' unofficial retirement tour.

During the Colts-Ravens wild-card game, Indy wide receiver Reggie Wayne called Lewis' end-of-game, midfield dance "disrespectful."

Toomer concedes that the retirement serves to motivate Lewis' teammates but remains bothered by the dichotomy of a man who speaks frequently of God but was also once accused of double murder and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.

"If you want to say you're Mr. Religious and all of that, have a clean record," Toomer said. "Don't say all of that stuff if you know there's stuff that might come back. Those are the things that, when I look at him, I just think hypocrisy."

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CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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