Let me say this in the nicest possible way: Maybe it's time for Ray Lewis to start thinking before he runs his mouth and acts like a hotdog on ESPN.

I understand that Lewis was spoiled by most of the Baltimore media, including me, when he was a player here. He said crazy stuff all the time and almost everyone acted like it made sense. Some in the press even treated him like he was a genius.

The fact that he could usually deliver the goods on the field on Sunday went a long way in terms of the press largely ignoring his mis-statements and inflated sense of having some kind of inner wisdom.

But his Monday night rant on ESPN about San Francisco linebacker Ahmad Brooks being fined for a hit on New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees crossed the line when he took out his American Express card, waved it in front of the camera and offered to pay half of any fine that the NFL might impose on Brooks.

With that act, he interjected himself into the story as a participant. An analyst is not a participant. Look it up, Ray. Look it up, ESPN.

Beyond the impropriety of an analyst becoming a participant in a ruling between the league and a player, there's the loudmouth style in which Lewis is doing it.

This is what blowhards in a bar do when they have had too much to drink -- wave around their credit cards, act like big shots and say crazy, bluster-butt stuff.

What's crazy?

Try this:

"If they fine this kid, Trent," he said to ESPN colleague Trent Dilfer, "I'm going to pay half this kid's fine, because of one reason. One reason: Defenders has to be respected as men before anything else. Because, see, sometimes we just look at the position and say, 'Oh, they just defenders.' But they're men. They have kids. They have families. And you have to treat everybody fair and everybody the same in this game. And that man laid a clean hit, and it cost the San Francisco 49ers a complete football game yesterday and it could cost them in the playoffs."

I am not here to argue whether or not it was a "clean hit." But if the neck is considered part of the head, then it wasn't so clean, was it?

I am guessing Lewis didn't take Logic during his undergraduate days at the University of Miami.
But the core of his argument seems to be that he's pulling out his credit card because "defenders" need "to be respected as men." That's what he says is the "one reason," doesn't he?

How did manhood become part of this conversation? And what does it matter whether or not "they have kids, they have families?"

This is just a crazy babble rant -- the kind of stuff Lewis said all the time in Baltimore -- and we acted like he was some Old Testament prophet who just came in from the desert after getting the sacred word from a burning bush.

No more burning bush, Ray.

You're just another ex-jock, hotdog analyst running your mouth and grandstanding with your credit card on cable TV.