Retiring Ray Lewis hired by ESPN despite Disney diss - report

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Ray Lewis, Super Bowl MVP linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, announced he will retire at the end of the 2012-2013 NFL season. On the heels of that announcement comes a report that Lewis is set to sign a deal to become an on-air personality for ESPN.

Sports Illustrated reports no official announcement should be expected until the close of the Ravens season. Baltimore plays the Indiana Colts in a Wild Card game Dec. 6, so the season ending date is yet to be determined.

Lewis reportedly met with several broadcast networks regarding a post-retirement NFL gig, but the role offered by ESPN gave the linebacker the scheduling flexibility he was looking for to be able to attend his son Ray Lewis III's University of Miami football games.

While ESPN has declined to comment on the reported deal, they would be taking on a controversial figure if the story is true. Lewis was charged with murder in the 2000 death of then girlfriend, Jacinth Baker, and Richard Lollar. He received probation in exchange for testimony against his alleged accomplices and a guilty plea to an obstruction of justice charge.

After paying a $250,000 fine to the NFL, Lewis was named Super Bowl MVP the following year. But Disney famously declined to feature him in their traditional "I'm going to Disneyland!" commercial, opting to use Ravens quarterback Trent Dilfer instead.

It would appear Disney, the parent company of ESPN, has decided to let bygones be bygones.
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