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Report: Ray Lewis agrees to deal to join ESPN

Ray Lewis AP

It didn’t take long after Ray Lewis announced his retirement for him to line up his next gig.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch, the Ravens linebacker will join ESPN’s herd of former players as an analyst. Deitsch reports Lewis will sign a multi-year deal, with a significant role on ESPN’s Monday Night Countdown. An ESPN spokesman declined comment.

Lewis’ ability to captivate an audience (whether it’s a locker room or folks sitting in recliners) is legendary, and he had plenty of suitors.

His representatives met with “several of the NFL broadcast networks” during the season, and one of the things that drew him to ESPN was the flexibility to attend his son’s games at the University of Miami on fall Saturdays, rather than prepping for Sunday shows on other networks.

“Ray Lewis has an intensity about him and a way of communicating that is very infectious,” CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus told Deitsch. “He is a bigger-than-life personality, very articulate and [has] an incredible passion for the game. If Ray Lewis decided to take that same passion and put it into a broadcasting career, I think he would be a terrific studio analyst or I imagine game analyst, too.”

The biggest challenge might be figuring out who to crowbar aside to make room for Lewis, as ESPN often struggles to balance the contributions of the many already on hand. With a set full of Keyshawn Johnsons and Cris Carters, they only have room for so much bluster.

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74 Responses to “Report: Ray Lewis agrees to deal to join ESPN”
  1. elliottcovert says: Jan 3, 2013 11:02 AM

    Replace Gruden with Lewis and Jaws!!!!

  2. ravenscaps48 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:05 AM

    Did anybody not see this coming?

  3. kane337 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:05 AM

    I’m guessing he will join Trent Dilfer and Steve Young on Mondays.

  4. weepingjebus says: Jan 3, 2013 11:06 AM

    ESPN should create a new show where Lewis just re-enacts each week’s illegal or fined hits while using Rob Parker as a tackling dummy.

  5. xxwhodatxx says: Jan 3, 2013 11:06 AM

    Lewis could replace Carter and Keyshawn,no one would miss them.

  6. zaggs says: Jan 3, 2013 11:06 AM

    And another reason I’ll keep watching NFL Network.

  7. raynman49 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:07 AM

    Another reason not to watch ESPN.

  8. boondocksaint7 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:07 AM

    I’m a steeler fan so it’s though to admit (and Lewis could be a murderer) but at least he is interesting. That is more then I can say for the rest of the espn line up. And he never took a play off to let a teammate get hurt like other commentators that work for that scum bag net work!

  9. onearmsteven says: Jan 3, 2013 11:08 AM

    can’t he wait till after the game

  10. dezno24 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:09 AM

    I could see Ray doing something on the lines of a Mel Kiper with his great ability to review college prospects. This dude watches film on any and everything football related.

  11. benh999 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:11 AM

    I guess Disney forgave him.

  12. steeltown666 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:12 AM

    I say they make Keyshawn and Cris real life sport science “dummies.” Let Ray hit them as hard as he can, and whoever doesn’t get up is booted.

  13. rugdaniels says: Jan 3, 2013 11:12 AM

    Great news, I already avoid ESPN’s football coverage, or really any sports coverage, due to the awful personalities they currently put on the air. Now I don’t have to worry about Ray Lewis popping up on a show I actually would watch.

    I probalby will check him out once just to see the tasteful suits and clear diction I’m sure he’ll bring to the four-letter network.

  14. theprofesser says: Jan 3, 2013 11:12 AM

    So long Tommy Boy. Hopefully Ray will have an actual opinon and not ride Berman’s coat tails.

  15. frenchy121212 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:13 AM

    I turn on ESPN games after they’ve started, flip it off 5 seconds before half, after 2nd half kickoff and right when its over. I’ve done that for years and now will continue to do so. Won’t hear that guy say 1 word on Espn.

  16. spellingcops says: Jan 3, 2013 11:14 AM

    Glad he’s going to ESPN so I don’t have to watch him. I’m already tired of hearing him speak. 1st ballot HOFer though.

  17. thejotapee says: Jan 3, 2013 11:16 AM

    He should be coaching, not in some television booth.

  18. brianjoates says: Jan 3, 2013 11:16 AM

    I hope he gets a shot in the booth, he could bring so much real time insight into a game. Maybe get him ready to be the third wheel for MNF?

  19. chc4 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:17 AM

    Yet another in a long list of reasons not to watch ESPN.

  20. ketchupaholic says: Jan 3, 2013 11:17 AM

    For those who aren’t thinking this country is going to hell. ESPN once again adds to the pile of moral decay in this great country. Let’s be realistic! How in the world, is Ray Lewis the face of the NFL? Why are so many sponsors embracing this man? How has a man who was involved in a double homicide, and by some strange and bizarre disappearing act, the all white suite he wore during the murders has never been found? Sure he hasn’t been in any trouble since then, but remember how long it took OJ to stumble.

  21. tcmiller30 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:19 AM

    There’s plenty of fat to cut as far as ESPN “analysts” go. Just put their names in a hat and pick one to make room for Ray.

  22. 44mpo says: Jan 3, 2013 11:19 AM

    Another reason for me to not watch ESPN I guess,

  23. bh83 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:20 AM

    Don’t these guys spend alot of time in Ct? Preparing, doing segments etc…what happened to spending time with his family/son? And ESPN? Really? A bit disappointing.

  24. stoog2454 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:22 AM

    I guess that I’m getting old… Does anyone else remember back in the 70′s/early 80′s when the pregame shows were 30 minutes? Right to the point, some eye candy in the form of Phyllis George and then off to the game. Even when FOX landed the NFL contract and had a one hour show that was fine with me because it seemed like the meat of the program started half way through anyway.

    Now, these pregame shows are overloaded with a bunch of windbags who hold more self-importance than they actually have. Darin Gantt has it correct – add Ray Lewis to the ESPN train wreck and the bluster will only exponentially increase as each of these clowns pine for more air time.

  25. crownofthehelmet says: Jan 3, 2013 11:24 AM

    I’m sure having an awful QB with no chance to advance in the playoffs has plenty to do with the timing of these developments.

  26. reed20ravens says: Jan 3, 2013 11:27 AM

    Well I guess this really is his last year. Thanks for everything Ray, Baltimore owes you everything.

  27. h4wksf4n says: Jan 3, 2013 11:28 AM

    Get rid of both Keyshawn and Cris. Problem solved…

  28. watermelon1 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:30 AM

    I actually like the chemistry between Keyshawn, Tom Jackson, Chris berman.

    I would rather day Lewis take over for the annoying play by play commentators.

  29. sparty0n says: Jan 3, 2013 11:31 AM

    I would have liked to see him go into coaching. Imagine him on the sidelines coaching up some college linebackers!

  30. nflofficeadmin says: Jan 3, 2013 11:32 AM

    Sit him next to Ditka.

  31. stanmarshmorelikestandarsh says: Jan 3, 2013 11:35 AM

    You have to admire ESPN for their hiring practices. They’ll hire doctors, lawyers, professional journalists, racists (Rob Parker), and murderers (Ray Lewis), and never blink an eye!

  32. clownsfan says: Jan 3, 2013 11:36 AM

    They should dump Key, Carter, Dilfer, Hasselback and Teddy B.

  33. dscol715 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:36 AM

    Nothing against Ray Lewis but this is what makes most NFL coverage unwatchable(especially ESPN). Did he have to audition for this job at all? Does anyone that hasn’t been to multiple Pro Bowls ever get hired to these jobs anymore? I guess being able to yell like a maniac in a huddle makes you qualified as an analyst these days.

  34. madtownthrowdown says: Jan 3, 2013 11:36 AM

    Here is something I just can’t understand. How Ray could just kill a man. Proven leader. Now espn can replace that other jackass who made the Bob Griffin 3 comments about being African American.

  35. the1bigbird says: Jan 3, 2013 11:37 AM

    He will be reporting on the crime and punishment segment for countdown. He will kill this segment.

  36. maddenisfordorks says: Jan 3, 2013 11:40 AM

    Another guy to laugh like a hyena and cater to the casual fans who want more points.

  37. myroncopesflask says: Jan 3, 2013 11:41 AM

    Does this meen there will not be a 30 for 30 special about what “really” happened in Atlanta when two people ended up dead and Ray Ray was only charged with obstruction?

  38. harrisonhits2 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:43 AM

    Good. I never ever have bspn on my television so I won’t have to suffer listening to him. bspn, the worldwide joke of sportscasting

  39. dannyreneau says: Jan 3, 2013 11:44 AM

    Sucks that he’s going to espn. I’d much rather see him join CBS or Fox’s pregame show. Hell, get rid of FLorio and throw him on NBC’s Sunday night show ;)

  40. 85pmart says: Jan 3, 2013 11:50 AM

    I’m glad he let it be known he’s outta there, for good, win or LOSE to the Colts.
    Doesn’t seem as a Bret Favre retirement. Stick the proverbial fork into Ray playing after the Colt game. Good career, bro, later.

  41. guitarkevin says: Jan 3, 2013 11:53 AM

    Ray could host his own show. He’s been doing it for years already.

  42. packerpride03 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:54 AM

    Go figure

  43. rockthered1286 says: Jan 3, 2013 11:58 AM

    To everyone trashing Ray saying “I’ve heard him talk enough.”

    Seriously? When has Ray ever come out and talked trash? The huddles speeches are hardly ever on air so you can’t say you’re tired of hearing those. He hardly gets post game interviews. Never says anything outlandish. Never takes shots at a player. He just plays the game hard and know how to motivate. He is a master of studying game film. He reads an O as good as he reads a D. He’s not all skill- he has the football smarts too. So for me? Yea I’d love to see someone like Ray Lewis actually shedding light on games as opposed to some of the garbage they have up there just for laughs. Glad everyone else seems to be narrow minded sheep and act like Ray is a loudmouth off the field when that couldn’t be further from the truth…

  44. flavordave says: Jan 3, 2013 11:58 AM

    I remember how great ESPN was. Now its people in pinstripes and 5 pounds of makeup walking around with tablets surrounded by neon light bars pretending that theyre telling us something important all while trying to outdress the Duchess of Cambridge. Then at some point I start to realize that they are just talking about some rich guy jumping really far and putting a ball in a hoop. Doesnt seem so spectacular anymore. Id rather read about it.

  45. fissels says: Jan 3, 2013 11:59 AM

    I would really like to know the truth about what happened in Atlanta

  46. mrp2003 says: Jan 3, 2013 12:03 PM

    would have preferred him at Fox or ABC. Either way, I would expect him to pretty good to watch and listen to.

    For those who think are surprised, you should not be. Every player which is a fan favorite gets a job with one of the networks. If it does not go well, then it is a one year gig. This guy is one of the best known and you either like him or hate him which will make everyone watch him to see what he says that they hate or like.

  47. nomoreseasontix says: Jan 3, 2013 12:04 PM

    I wish him well.
    One of my favorite players, notwithstanding the stabbing thing. I have no idea what the true story is there.

    Can’t help but be swept up in his enthusiasm. And he’s never been on my favorite team.

  48. finsphan says: Jan 3, 2013 12:06 PM

    here’s to hoping that ray doesn’t come in pretending to know everything like dilfer and hodge and when he is wrong he will pretend he never said anything. oh, and I guess this means his blackness is good enough for espn and parker. good thing is he will never get fired since black commentators don’t get fired on espn no matter what….

  49. Cereal says: Jan 3, 2013 12:06 PM

    Love Ray but he’s not the best speaker. This will be a challenge for him.

  50. tdk24 says: Jan 3, 2013 12:08 PM

    Wow, i thought for sure he was going to sign with Hertz.

  51. brownsalwaysrebuilding says: Jan 3, 2013 12:12 PM

    Ray will begin his career in the studio in the divisional round of this year’s playoffs!

  52. cincy90 says: Jan 3, 2013 12:15 PM

    One thing that I can assure you. If I ever see him on there, I WILL be turning the channel and that has NOTHING to do with being Bengal fan.

  53. jwil007 says: Jan 3, 2013 12:27 PM

    As a Bengals fan and person that was at the club the night of the murders and left 15 mins before it happened….Ray Lewis didnt kill those guys his friends did….He had the wrong people around and didnt want to snitch before realizing he needed to testify to clear his name…. He paid the families even though he didnt kill the men….Then after he resolved the situation he made it his sole purpose to live a good life with God. I can’t knock a guy for change in his life..He never had another run in with the law…All the hate needs to stop. The guy knows football and is 1 of the smartest players to ever play the game. Sometimes football fans can be some of the most unforgiving people to walk the earth all because he may have smacked your team several times… Let it go

  54. nomoreseasontix says: Jan 3, 2013 12:27 PM

    And… I think it’s a shame that he can make more money in the studio than as a linebacker coach.
    I’d imagine he could build some incredible young players.

  55. hcf95688 says: Jan 3, 2013 12:35 PM

    Are the people currently working at ESPN concerned that Ray might murder them, too?

  56. ham1 says: Jan 3, 2013 12:36 PM

    Espn already sucks. It continues to spiral downwards with the hiring a murderer.

  57. southpaw2k says: Jan 3, 2013 12:56 PM

    Kinda disappointing. I really hoped and wanted Ray Lewis to join the Ravens coaching staff as a linebackers coach instead. But then, I guess if he chose that route he almost certainly wouldn’t be able to be around his children as they grow up, which was a big part of the reason of his choice to retire in the first place. I think he’d be a dynamic coach if he ever decided that was something he’d like to do.

  58. omegalh says: Jan 3, 2013 12:59 PM

    I thought the Ravens were still in the playoffs?

  59. micahernst says: Jan 3, 2013 1:10 PM

    Maybe they’ll finally get rid of Mangini now.

  60. godofwine330 says: Jan 3, 2013 1:15 PM

    I hate that he went to ESPN vs NFLN simply because I hate BSPN and only tune in to watch the games. NFLN has a much better cast that work better together, but he wanted to watch his son play and he went with the network that gave him the best chance to do so. Being that he missed much of his son’s life/football career while he was being an NFL player this is a small sacrifice to make in order to atone for what he missed. I may catch him for 5 minutes or so, which is all I can stomach of the BSPN network before the games come on.

  61. rg3sus says: Jan 3, 2013 1:33 PM

    This announcement should not have come until after the Ravens season is over. It’s a distraction and somewhat selfish if he’s the one who leaked this information.

  62. manningbowl88 says: Jan 3, 2013 1:45 PM

    i like lewis but if i have to turn on espn and hear lewis everyday spewing off bible quotes and talkin on set like he does aftergame interviews like he just said the deepest stuff u ever heard every single day im never watchin espn again lol

  63. nflgiant says: Jan 3, 2013 1:46 PM

    Wish NFL network would replace Warren Sapp with Lewis.

  64. jgedgar70 says: Jan 3, 2013 2:01 PM

    This sucks. I wanted him to sign with FOX and get teamed with Gus Johnson. Now THAT would be must-see TV.

  65. Nofoolnodrool says: Jan 3, 2013 2:32 PM

    Espn was better when it just reported the news not stylized the news with personalities with an agenda. Since Rob Parker and Lomas Brown stepped on their respective junk being really stupid I stopped watching those talk shows. Now with mumbles Ray Ray coming on I will keep my remote close by. Espn is going from bad to worse…hopefully it’s just me getting old, but I fear it’s not just that…

  66. davidjcu says: Jan 3, 2013 2:34 PM

    Ray Lewis…office linebacker

  67. zerole00 says: Jan 3, 2013 3:11 PM

    They should get rid of Cris Carter. Oh, Lewis needs an opening? That works out well then.

    Key point, please get rid of Cris Carter.

  68. duffer58 says: Jan 3, 2013 3:33 PM

    He can not be worse then Steve Young,Mark Schlerth,Trent Dilfer, Desmond Howard and the rest of so called experts ESPN has. Oh I forgot Merrill Hoge and Herm Edwards.

  69. crownofthehelmet says: Jan 3, 2013 3:46 PM

    rg3sus says:

    This announcement should not have come until after the Ravens season is over.
    —————————————————–
    It did.

  70. backindasaddle says: Jan 3, 2013 6:52 PM

    Ray’s been a great player and leader for his team, but frankly I grew tired of his over blown theatrical performances a long long time ago. If he tones that stuff down and applies a more sedate analytical approach, I would be far more apt to watch him. If he does the theatrical sermon thing I’ll hit the channel change button on the remote with same lightning quickness as when I see Michael Irvin. I just don’t think the loud mouthed blowhard thing works for me.

  71. steelersfanfromtheseventies says: Jan 3, 2013 6:55 PM

    Was really hoping he would go to CBS and get rid of mumbles.

  72. TheWizard says: Jan 3, 2013 7:59 PM

    I’ve never found him to be very articulate, regardless of what the media tells me.

  73. bmorethansteel says: Jan 3, 2013 10:21 PM

    He won’t coach because he doesn’t want to coach. Too much time and dedication need be given for that line of work. His son is starting his freshman year at Miami and that’s most important to him. Ray is now about his family. Give him some booth/studio time and all will be good with Ray’s world.

  74. pharmboy35 says: Aug 5, 2013 6:27 PM

    It’s a perfect match for a perfect time. Ray can station himself at various jails and penitentiaries throughout the U.S. and Canada interviewing various stars of the NFL with an inside slant that no one else can. It just goes to show, lack of integrity, over-inflated ego, tons of hush money along with some acute criminal thinking can continue to lead you to BIG $ in the NFL and in this country.

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