It was reported yesterday from Ray Lewis himself, that he’ll be retiring after the Ravens season comes to an end. Some people are still in denial about the move, but after almost 20 years in the NFL, Lewis has finally gotten himself an exit strategy.
After Lewis retires at the end of the season, he’ll be taking a nice cushy, multi-million dollar job with ESPN as a member of the NFL analysis team.
According to Sports Illustrated, Lewis chose ESPN over offers from NBC, FOX and CBS because the schedule at the four letter network affords him a chance to fulfill his wish to see his son play college football at his alma mater, the University of Miami. Lewis is also being promised a “significant” role on the Monday Night Football countdown show, as well as all of ESPN’s NFL coverage.
An interesting footnote to this story, is how far Ray Lewis has come in the court of public opinion. When the Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2001, Disney refused to use him in their I’m Going to Disneyland commercial, due to Lewis’ involvement in a 2000 nightclub murder. Although murder was the case they tried to give him, Lewis beat the rap and has since restructured his imagine into one of a role model.
ESPN, which is a subsidiary of Disney, is now set to pay Lewis big money to dress nice and talk about football. So in essence, nearly 10 years after giving Lewis the cold shoulder on doing a commercial, Disney is paying up big time to get Lewis on their roster.