Well, that didn't take long. Less than a day after Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis announced that his 17th NFL season would be his last, Richard Deitsch of SI.com reports that the first-ballot Hall-of-Famer is already close to signing a contract with ESPN as an analyst. According to Deitsch, Lewis and his representatives from talent agency William Morris Endeavor have already met with ESPN reps, and though no deal would be made official until the end of the Ravens' playoff run, an agreement appears to be in place.
The Ravens will face off against the Indianapolis Colts early Sunday afternoon at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium.
Key among Lewis' requirements for a new job is that he wants to be free to attend games in which his son, Ray Lewis III, will play. The younger Lewis will be a freshman at his father's alma mater, the University of Miami. It would be a relative hop, skip, and jump form Florida to Bristol, Conn. if the network wanted Lewis on its Sunday Morning Countdown panel, and there are many other ways in which he could contribute.
Given his well-spoken manner, intensity, and fanatical game preparation, Lewis would seem to be a cinch to excel as an analyst.
"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."
[Related: Ray Lewis symbolizes NFL – not just Ravens]
Fox Sports Media group executive producer John Entz said pretty much the same thing. "I see Ray as a guy who would be great in the studio because he is so animated and emotive," Entz said. "I think he could fire people up there."
No doubt about it. We only hope that the "Worldwide Leader" keeps Lewis out of its current and overwhelmingly noxious debate format -- he's too good for that, but then again, so are most people.
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