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Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates with owner Steve Bisciotti in the locker room after defeating the New England Patriots in the 2013 AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium on January 20, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Baltimore Ravens defeated the New England Patriots 28-13. / Elsa,Getty Images

NEW ORLEANS -- Ray Lewis' impending retirement has supplied the Baltimore Ravens with a motivational storyline during their run to Super Bowl XLVII, but team owner Steve Bisciotti doesn't buy the notion that it will push his team over the top for a victory against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

"There's no way in the world that you can imagine Torrey (Smith) blocking better down the field because Ray is quitting," Bisciotti said Thursday. "There's no way in the world that Vonta Leach is going to give that much more, knocking that linebacker in the hole. I believe if Ray was saying he was going to play another year, that these guys would give us the same thing.

"If anything, I think it puts a little more pressure on them. Are they as focused? Yeah, they're as focused. But I can't do anything, I can't help Ray go out on top. They can. So I think you have to be careful that there's not more pressure than inspiration to make this thing end the way we want it to end for Ray."

The media-shy Bisciotti, 52, met for nearly 40 minutes at the team's hotel with a small group of media that included USA TODAY Sports.

He revealed how Lewis' announcement of his retirement before the Ravens opened the playoffs wasn't a surprise to him -- the iconic linebacker told Bisciotti, general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh of his plans to retire nearly a month before revealing it to teammates and the public.

Bisciotti was in the Bahamas when he returned Lewis' call and was informed of the retirement decision.

"I called him and I didn't know what it was about," Bisciotti recalled. "He just said, 'I talked to John and I talked to Ozzie and I'm done after this.'

"I just said, 'I can't imagine the emotions that you're going through simultaneously to decide that it's the end for you while you are rehabbing like you are rehabbing in order to get back at the end of this year. It seems like you might not want to deal with those two crazy focuses at the same time.

"He said, 'I'm very, very comfortable with it.'"

"We spoke for a few minutes. I just said, mums the word until you decide to announce it or tell the team. That lasted, I think, a month," Bisciotti added.

Bisciotti won't predict whether safety Ed Reed will follow Lewis into retirement. He expects Reed will take a few weeks after the season to weigh the decision.

Reed's situation also could include striking a new contract with the Ravens, or possibly continuing his career with another team.

"First, we have to find out where Ed's head is," Bisciotti said. "I think that, win or lose Sunday, Ed needs a couple of weeks. By that time, we will have done our personnel meetings and our cap meetings and we'll know what kind of deal that we can make Ed.

"I assume we'll make a deal that we made with Ray a few years ago. If Ed wants to test the market like Ray did, that's what we have to do. That's the downside of being the financial boss -- Ozzie (Newsome) has to deal with that."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Owner Steve Bisciotti: Ray Lewis' storyline isn't enough

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