Job offers, it seems, are pouring in for Ray Lewis, now that he's announced his retirement at the end of the Baltimore Ravens' postseason, after 17 seasons with the team.
Sports Illustrated has reported Lewis will sign a multi-year contract with ESPN for television and radio work (although ESPN won't confirm). Experts say motivational speaking engagements are his for the asking. And now Roger Goodell is offering a part-time position: adviser to the commissioner.
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Doesn't sound like it's a paying gig, but Goodell might want to rethink that, because he could use someone to help him kiss and make up with the players — many of whom believe he was heavy-handed with the bounty suspensions, screwed up the refs lockout and has been dishing out excessive fines for borderline hits. Picture Lewis saying to the players: "Love this guy, or else!"
(If Lewis can't help Goodell there, maybe he can use a pregame speech to get the commissioner stoked to face hostile Saints fans in New Orleans when Goodell visits for the Super Bowl. Heck, Lewis could even be Goodell's muscle that week.)
For now, though, Lewis will be merely a sounding board, as he always has been. In an interview with the Baltimore Sun, Goodell said he often has consulted with Lewis on league issues.
(We wonder: Was Goodell listening when Lewis ripped the league and the replacement refs in September?)
"He's a tremendous voice of reason," Goodell said. "He's someone that has a unique pulse of the players and that's helpful to me. That perspective is important to hear, and he would always share that with me whether he called or I called him. ... He means a great deal to this commissioner, and I could tell you that I will always seek out his input. He will stay involved, I'm certain of it, in football and that perspective that he has is something I'll reach out for on a regular basis."
Of course, if Lewis gets on camera, Goodell might only have to tune in to get an earful.
Goodell also cited Lewis as an example of a physical player who is "fundamentally sound, using the right techniques … that are safe for you and safer for the opponent," and he said Lewis is an example of a player who got into serious trouble off the field, rehabbed his image and has been squeaky clean since.
After Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta, Lewis and two companions were involved in an altercation that resulted in the stabbing deaths of two men. Lewis was charged with first-degree murder, but he eventually pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and was fined $250,000 by the league.
"He was able to take, obviously, an unfortunate incident, and he grew from a bad situation and he made very positive changes in his life and the lives of many others. That's a great thing," Goodell said.