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Press Box: Ray Lewis joins ESPN; NFL Network apologizes

The SportsXchange

A controversial ex-player signed on to be a television analyst, while a TV network apologized for a controversial on-air comment.

Recently retired Baltimore Ravens star Ray Lewis has been hired as an NFL analyst to work on ESPN radio and television programming. Also Wednesday, the NFL Network apologized for an expletive heard on the air during Tuesday night's free agency coverage.

Lewis will make appearances at every Monday night game and do regular work on other platforms including the "Mike and Mike" morning radio show and "NFL Live."

"ESPN is such a big part of how fans watch and experience sports, especially the NFL, so I'm excited to join their team," Lewis said in a statement. "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."

Lewis will also host special segments similar to the Jon Gruden quarterback camp features.

Meanwhile, NFL Network host Chris Rose read a statement during Wednesday morning's Free Agency Frenzy news show to address the fallout from the "f-word" being used in connection with a mention of New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick during a live segment.

"Last night, during some live programming, we accidentally aired an expletive," Rose said. "It will not happen again, so our sincerest apology to Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots, the Patriots family, Robert Kraft and his entire family, a classy organization out there. "

Network analyst and Hall of Fame inductee Warren Sapp made a derogatory comment off camera when Scott Pioli, a newcomer to NFL Network and a former Kansas City Chiefs and New England front-office executive, was speaking about stockpiling draft picks through trades.

"It's the same (expletive) spew we had (former NFL analyst) Mike Lombardi doing: The (expletive) Bill Belichick (expletive) angle," Sapp said.

The network didn't announce whether any of its employees were disciplined as a result of the incident.

AUTO RACING

NASCAR reinstated Nationwide Series driver Jeremy Clements on Wednesday from an indefinite suspension for using a racial slur.

Clements, 29, used the "n-word" Feb. 23 at Daytona while speaking with an MTV blogger. He completed a racial sensitivity training session Monday.

"We're pleased that Jeremy has taken these important steps and will return to racing starting this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway," Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations, said.

Clements will be back in the car for Saturday's Nationwide race.

"I learned a great deal about that and myself, how it affects everything that has to do with family, friends, church, sponsors and the team," Clements said. "I'm excited to be back in the race car. Nothing like that will ever happen again."

COLLEGE SPORTS

University of Alabama athletic director Mal Moore was hospitalized in Birmingham, Ala., for treatment and to undergo tests for pulmonary problems, the school said.

Moore, 73, has served as the Crimson Tide's AD since 1999, and has been an administrator in the school's athletic department since 1994. He played for legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant. He also worked at Notre Dame and for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals.

According to The Tuscaloosa News, Moore entered the hospital on Sunday. Moore also was hospitalized in August for an irregular heartbeat but was released after two days.

--Washington suspended tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins after his arrest Saturday night on charges of driving under the influence. Seferian-Jenkins sustained minor injuries in a one-car accident in Seattle.

Huskies coach Steve Sarkisian said that, pending an investigation that reportedly could take several weeks, the suspension will be from all team activities.

GOLF

LPGA Tour player Natalie Gulbis has contracted malaria, and it's forced her to withdraw from the RR Donnelley Founders Cup this week in Phoenix.

Gulbis became ill with flu-like symptoms in Asia two weeks ago and pulled out of the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore after the first round.

After she returned home to the United States, the illness persisted and Gulbis was diagnosed with malaria, the LPGA and IMG, Gulbis' management company, confirmed.

"LPGA doctors have been consulted and believe she is on appropriate medications, under great care, and her prognosis is excellent," the LPGA and IMG said in a joint statement.

The LPGA said Gulbis hopes to return for the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the season, in early April.
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