Is a Ray Lewis deal in the works at ESPN? According to Sports Illustrated, the Ravens linebacker will transition from the NFL to TV after retiring once the Ravens' playoff run ends.
But a Ray Lewis deal presents a few issues, as the LA Times points out.
SI says the Ray Lewis deal will be for multiple years and multiple millions of dollars - a smart move for ESPN, given Lewis' star power and name cachet. But Lewis has a checkered past - he was charged with first-degree murder back in 2000, the same year his Ravens went on to win Super Bowl XXXV. He pleaded to a less charge of obstructing justice, but the circumstances of the crime remain hazy.
A Ray Lewis deal would be a departure for Disney, ESPN's parent company. Despite being the best and most visible player on that Ravens' Super Bowl team, it was QB Trent Dilfer who gave the trademark "I'm going to Disneyworld!" plea on TV after the win - even though Lewis won the MVP award. Now, Disney would be handing screen time and millions to a man they once pretty blatantly dissed.
There are other hangups to a Ray Lewis deal - including the fact that Lewis' son plays for the University of Miami, which may interfere with pop's travel schedule, or the fact that Lewis is somewhat untested on TV. But all signs point to a Ray Lewis deal soon, which is a cushy way for one of the best players in NFL history to go into retirement.