Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker and two-time Super Bowl champion Ray Lewis is joining a new team. After retiring from the NFL following the Ravens' amazing playoff run, he's officially moving into broadcasting with ESPN, according to Bill Hofheimer of ESPN MediaZone.
Two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and 12-time Pro Bowler Ray Lewis, who ended his legendary NFL career by helping the Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII last month, is joining ESPN as a NFL studio analyst. The two-time Super Bowl champion and future Hall of Famer will appear on Monday Night Countdown, Sunday Night Countdown andSportsCenter, while also contributing to ESPN’s annual Super Bowl coverage...
...Lewis will contribute to Sunday NFL Countdown throughout the season and make a weekly appearance on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning. The 17-year NFL veteran will also have the opportunity to host specials similar to Jon Gruden’s QB Camp series. He is expected to start on August 1.
It will be interesting to see how Lewis' trademark intensity will translate to analyst work, where he'll have to take a more even-keeled approach than he ever did on the football field. But he cannot lose it completely; it's what made him special.
Lewis released the following statement about the opportunity in the ESPN announcement:
ESPN is such a big part of how fans watch and experience sports, especially the NFL, so I’m excited to join their team. I’m ready to bring the same level of passion to this next phase of my life as I brought to the field during my years as a player. I can’t wait to work with my new teammates, many of whom I’ve already known for years.
Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated first reported the longtime Ravens star's likely agreement with the "Worldwide Leader." He stated it was expected to be a multi-year deal that would include a prominent role on Monday Night Countdown.
He also reports an advantage ESPN had over the other networks with extensive football coverage was schedule flexibility. His son, Ray Lewis III, is heading to Miami to play college football, and being able to make those games was a priority for the elder Lewis.
Lewis walked away from the NFL after 17 seasons. He made the Pro Bowl 13 times, was selected to the All-Pro first team seven times and was twice named the AP Defensive Player of the Year—and those are just the highlights of his many accolades.
He's one of the greatest linebackers to ever set foot on a football field. The 37-year-old Florida native was never the most athletic player—and his declining explosiveness was noticeable over the past few seasons—but he always found a way to make an impact.
That type of drive to succeed is why he will probably have plenty of success in his new career as well. While it will probably take some time for him to adapt to breaking down what happened on Sunday instead of taking part in it, he should eventually find a comfort zone.
By the time fans, especially the ones in Baltimore, get used to watching Ravens games without him on the field, Lewis should be settled in to his new role.