Special to NYSportsJournalism.com
March 13, 2013: Since helping the Baltimore Ravens win Super Bowl XLVII this past February and then officially announcing his retirement, Ray Lewis has been seen in public as part of the Ravens' victory celebration in M&T Bank Stadium, waving the green flag at the start of the Nascar Daytona 500 and throwing out the first pitch at a Detroit Tigers spring training game.
Today, the retired linebacker had his coming out party as a member of the media on ESPN.
ESPN confirmed that Lewis, a two-time Super Bowl winner, two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and 12-time pro bowler, has signed a deal to appear as an analyst on such shows as Monday Night Countdown, Sunday NFL Countdown and SportsCenter. He also will contribute to ESPN’s annual Super Bowl coverage, according to the network.
Financial details of Lewis' contract were not disclosed. He is scheduled to start on Aug. 1 to coincide with the opening of NFL training camps and the pre-season.
"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, who played his entire 17-year career (1996-2012) with the Ravens and was part of both of the franchise’s Super Bowl titles (XXXV, where he was named MVP; and XLVII), 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.”
"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."
Lewis retired following the Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers, which capped a season for him in which he missed ten games due to a torn triceps before helping the Ravens to the NFL crown.
Among his duties, Lewis will travel to the site of each week’s Monday Night Football game, "where he will offer analysis" alongside Stuart Scott, Hall of Famer Steve Young and his former Ravens' teammate Trent Dilfer during the pre-game Countdown and post-game SportsCenter; he will contribute to Sunday NFL Countdown throughout the season; will make a weekly appearance on ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike in the Morning; and will also have the opportunity to host specials similar to Jon Gruden’s QB Camp series.
According to John Wildhack, ESPN evp-production, “Ray is a tremendous addition to our NFL roster and he will have an immediate impact on our coverage. One of the most accomplished players in NFL history, fans will be drawn to his knowledge, experience and, of course, the passion he always exudes for the game.”
Lewis comes with some personal baggage, having been linked to the murder of two men in Atlanta following a Super Bowl XXXIV party. He is involved with several charitable organizations, including the Ray Lewis 52 Foundation, a non-profit corporation that provides personal and economic assistance to disadvantaged youth. He also oversee's Ray's Summer Days with Wal-Mart, an annual summer fund-raising event in Baltimore.
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