Last month, when ESPN announced its list of draft commentators, Lewis was not only missing as a main-desk presence. He wasn't listed anywhere.
Now he might be done with ESPN altogether.
Lewis had prominent spots on ESPN's "Sunday NFL Countdown" and "Monday Night Football" programming but struggled as a broadcaster, both ethically and professionally.
Last season, the day before commentating on a "Monday Night Football" game between the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots, Lewis gave a pep talk to the Bills, coached by Rex Ryan, his former defensive coordinator in Baltimore. He never disclosed that fact during his coverage of the game.
Two seasons before, in a rant on ESPN about San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks possibly being fined for a hit on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, Lewis took out his credit card, waved it in front of the camera and offered to pay half of any fine the NFL might impose on Brooks.
"With that act, he interjected himself into the story as a participant," Baltimore Sun TV columnist David Zurawik wrote. "An analyst is not a participant. Look it up, Ray. Look it up, ESPN."
Since he joined the network in 2013, the optics never have been good. Here are some of the top headlines for a Google search of "Ray Lewis analyst":
- "Ray Lewis sorely lacking as an analyst for ESPN"
- "Let's face it, Cal Ripken and Ray Lewis are bad TV analysts"
- "Monday Night Football: Ray Lewis caught texting on ESPN (video)"
Also on the first page of results: A Facebook page titled "Take Ray Lewis off Espn."