Early Thursday morning, Dan Patrick told his listeners that he knew Ray Lewis was going to retire this season because the linebacker's reps had reached out to all the major sports networks inquiring about possible post-NFL TV deals. The idea made sense, however, we didn’t have any real indication that Patrick was on the mark until about an hour ago.
According to Richard Deitsch, Lewis is reportedly close to an agreement with the World Wide Leader to become their newest NFL talking head. This of course comes less than 24 hours after the long time Baltimore Raven announced that he would retire following this season.
Per Sports Illustrated:
Multiple sources told SI.com the Ravens linebacker is close to signing a multi-year contract with the network. At ESPN, Lewis is expected to have a significant role on the network’s Monday Night Countdown program. As with most ESPN NFL talent, Lewis would also be featured on multiple platforms, including ESPN Radio.
Lewis obviously has a tremendous personality, but it remains to be seen how that will translate when he is sitting next to Chris Berman. The version of him that we will see on ESPN will be far less animated – far less emotional. Maybe that will work. Maybe it won’t.
A lot of people seem to want to compare Lewis’ appeal to that of Charles Barkley’s. I don’t see it. Barkley’s charisma bled through every interview he ever did. Lewis admittedly has a certain magnetic, leader-esque quality about him, but his charisma doesn’t come through in regular conversations like Barkley’s did/does.
Honestly, Lewis will likely end up being more Shaquille O’Neal than Charles Barkley when it’s all said and done.
(Kudos Sports Illustrated)