Ray Lewis told his teammates this week that he's on his “final ride” and will retire after the season, and on Thursday, Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch reported that the Ravens linebacker has his next job already lined up.
According to Deitsch, Lewis is close to signing a multiyear contract with ESPN that would showcase Lewis on the network's Monday Night Football programming and other media outlets.
No formal announcement is expected from the network until after the Ravens season is over -- which could be as early as this week when they play the Colts in the playoffs (however, only two of the nine CBSSports.com experts believe Indianapolis will travel to Baltimore and win).
Reportedly, Lewis, who suffered a torn triceps in Week 6 and returns to action this weekend, and his agents met with several networks this season to gauge interest in Lewis' possible TV career. What Lewis reportedly wanted most was flexibility so he could attend University of Miami football games and watch his son play.
More from Deitsch:
Every network with an NFL contract has a list of players and coaches who would make good broadcasters. Last month, SI.com interviewed executives at CBS, ESPN, Fox, NBC and The NFL Network to find out who was on their watch lists. Unsurprisingly, Lewis was high on most charts. Some believe he can have a Charles Barkley-like impact in the studio.
"Ray Lewis has an intensity about him and a way of communicating that is very infectious," CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus said. "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.”