Ray Lewis close to signing deal with ESPN, report says

Ray Lewis

is expected to join


after the

Baltimore Ravens

season ends, according to a Sports Illustrated report citing unnamed sources.

Here's the core of what the report says:

Multiple sources told the Ravens linebacker is close to signing a multi-year contract with the network. At ESPN, Lewis is expected to have a significant role on the network's Monday Night Countdown program. As with most ESPN NFL talent, Lewis would also be featured on multiple platforms, including ESPN Radio.
No formal announcement from Lewis or the network is expected until the conclusion of the Ravens season. Lewis announced Wednesday that he planned to retire at the end of Baltimore's season. The Ravens host the Colts on Sunday in the AFC Wild Card round.

An ESPN spokesperson declined comment when contacted Thursday morning.

Read the full report by Richard Deitsch


In a

, several executives at networks and cable channels Wednesday said Lewis had great potential.


Seth Markman, the ESPN senior coordinating producer who oversees all NFL studio shows for the cable channel, would only say, "Ray Lewis has instant name recognition among all football fans and when he speaks he never holds back. You know he will be candid in offering his insights and opinions. That's everything you hope for in an analyst, not to mention the fact that he's a

Super Bowl

champion and a first-ballot Hall of Famer."

ESPN spokesman Bill Hofheimer declined comment Thursday when asked by the Sun about the report that Lewis will land at ESPN.