If you wanted a little indication that Ray Lewis will not be joining the Dallas Cowboys next season, this might be it.
Jerry Jones and the 'Boys have agreed to a three-year deal with former Falcons linebacker Keith Brooking, who will help out a Cowboys defense that gave up 77 points in the two "must-win" games at the end of the '08 season to miss the playoffs.
Talk had been heating up that Dallas wanted Ray and Ray wanted Dallas, but this has to be a move in the direction of leaving Lewis in Baltimore.
Brooking was productive last season for Atlanta, leading the team in tackles with 102 that helped take the Falcons to the playoffs after a 4-12 season the year before.
As a Cowboys fan, it would have been nice to get Ray on the squad, just because he seems like the type that could help a group of guys that seemed lost this past season after such high expectations, but Brooking will help. The amount Dallas plans to pay him isn't available yet but it has to be substantially less than Lewis would have asked for and you're getting a guy that had just 15 less tackles.
He might be be the presence or the face fans might have wanted, but Dallas has enough of those guys and will be benefited by a veteran on the defensive side.
LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers watches as Mo Williams #2 takes a shoe to the face by Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers after a steal in the closing seconds of the first half at The Quicken Loans Arena on February 8, 2009 in Cleveland, Ohio. (David Liam Kyle, NBAE/Getty Images)
David Liam Kyle, NBAE/Getty Images
Brazil's Diogo (L) vies for the ball with Paraguay's Hernan Perez during their U-20 South American Championship football match in Puerto La Cruz, Venezuela on February 8, 2009.(Juan Barreto, AFP/Getty Images )
Juan Barreto, AFP/Getty Images
A Dalmatian looks at its handler as a judge goes to touch the dog during the first day of the 2009 Westminster Dog Show in New York February 9, 2009.(Lucas Jackson, Reuters)
Lucas Jackson, Reuters
Denver Nuggets forward Chris Anderson touches his head during a time out in the first half of their NBA basketball game with the New Jersey Nets in East Rutherford, New Jersey February 7, 2009. (Ray Stubblebine, Reuters)
Ray Stubblebine, Reuters
Margarita Marbler, of Austria, skis to a bronze medal finish the ladies moguls freestyle FIS World Cupskiing qualification at Cypress mountain in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009. (Jonathan Hayward, The Canadian Press/AP)
Jonathan Hayward, The Canadian Press/AP
West Virginia guard Darryl Bryant (25) is fouled by Providence guard Jeff Xavier (1) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Morgantown, W.Va. Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009. West Virginia won 86-59. (Don Wright, AP)
Don Wright, AP
Missouri's DeMarre Carroll, top, celebrates the Tigers' 62-60 win over Kansas in Columbia, Missouri, Monday, February 9, 2009. (Rich Sugg, Kansas City Star/MCT)
Rich Sugg, Kansas City Star/MCT
David Clarkson #23 of the New Jersey Devils fights Erik Reitz #4 of the New York Rangers during their game on February 9, 2009 at The Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey (Al Bello, Getty Images)
Al Bello, Getty Images
Driver Patrick Sheltra (60) begins to spin coming out of the fourth turn during the ARCA 200 auto race in Daytona Beach, Fla. Saturday, Feb. 7, 2009.
Darryl Graham, AP
Spain's Nuria Llagostera Vives serves the ball, in this multiple exposure, to Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic during their Fed Cup tennis match in Brno February 7, 2009.