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Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens LB, laughs off critics

Ray Lewis has repeatedly answered questions about the Baltimore Ravens' not-as-dominant-as-before defense through the first five weeks of 2012. This time, the question centered on Lewis himself.

The All-Pro linebacker laughed when asked if he still has "it?"

Darlington: Ravens' D not panicking

The Baltimore defense might rank 24th in the league, but the proud unit is not about to panic, Jeff Darlington writes. **More ...**

"Keep watching," Lewis told ESPN Dallas' Clarence Hill. "I've heard that my whole career. I've never picked up a phone, I've never texted a person that writes about me. I've never had a conversation before. I don't even pay it no attention. I just keep rolling.

"It's always amazing. One of the things in athletics: The greater you become, the more weakness people look for. In any other realm of the world, your resume speaks for itself. Your resume dictates how much money you make on a regular nine-to-five job and all of your credentials, they go high. That's just the way people look at you. It's just like a military service - 'How many bars you got?' And to be where I am in my career and all people look for is, 'Oh, he's not this and he's not that.' Nobody is the same. Everybody is getting older. That's life."

Well, then.

The Ravens' defense naturally was going to lose some production with reigning defensive player of the year Terrell Suggs out with an Achilles injury. That also lets an offense focus more on Lewis.

But Father Time *is *undefeated. Lewis said it himself: Everyone gets older. His last first-team All-Pro selection was in 2009. The Pro Bowls (13, so far) will come to an end one day, too. There's no way to be the same physical force at 37 years old as he was at 27.

That doesn't mean he's no longer a key player on a Super Bowl-caliber team. Just means he's human.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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