As a player, Ray Lewis said he avoided win-loss predictions regarding the Ravens. As an analyst for Showtime and Fox, the former middle linebacker is sticking to the same pattern, but did say that the 2017 squad could make waves if it can qualify for the postseason.
“Even when I was playing, someone would say, ‘I heard someone say we’re going to be 8-8.’ I would say who cares,” Lewis said Friday morning. “The moment is right now to what you want to do as a team, what you want to do as an individual, and to go make it happen. At the end of the day, are you good enough to make the playoffs? That’s the bottom line.
“You’ve got to be healthy to make it to the playoffs, and if that team gets into the playoffs with that defense and that experience, who knows? We could be seeing another great defense go on and do some great things. I’m really excited to see what they do this year.”
A postseason appearance would be the franchise’s seventh in 10 years under coach John Harbaugh, who was given a one-year extension on Monday that will run through the 2019 season. Lewis applauded owner Steve Bisciotti’s decision to keep Harbaugh in the fold.
“I think they have created a great bond,” Lewis said. “John is finally settling in to really massaging it to be his team and everything around that. And Steve really feels good about John. I think John has really made Baltimore his home. I think he wants to be there. So I think it’s a great move.”
Lewis spoke ahead of his debut on the network’s “Inside the NFL” show on Tuesday at 9 p.m. He will join analysts Boomer Esiason (Maryland) and Phil Simms and host James Brown for the studio show.
Lewis signed on with Showtime one month after joining Fox as an NFL contributor. Lewis, who will participate in Fox’s spate of weekday programming, said he is able to juggle both jobs thanks to working out a schedule that permits him to spend most of his time on the East Coast where “Inside the NFL” will be filmed.
“One of the first things that came up with Showtime when we started flirting with each other was they mentioned the new show they were going to have out of New York,” he said. “So now with Showtime being out of New York, now I’m not always running back and forth to the West Coast. Now there will be times when I go out to the West Coast, but it’s on my schedule. That’s what worked out really well for my schedule. I’m basically always on the East Coast with a couple times in LA. So there’s no real conflict.”
Lewis was an analyst for ESPN until May 2016 when he was not retained by the network. But Lewis said he had no regrets about his time with ESPN.
“There was no bad blood,” he said. “We parted, and I enjoyed every second of it over there, and the moment I got out, I started talking to Fox immediately because they just called and said, ‘We really love you. No, we don’t want to wait. We want to do it now.’ So I was like, ‘OK, let’s just figure it out.’ So that’s how it kind of fell into place.
“It’s funny because most of these things just fell into place because I think a lot of people were really excited just to have another conversation once I was done with ESPN. They were trying to see how we could get some stuff done.”