Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Can Ray Lewis yuk it up on TV?

Ray Lewis announced Wednesday that he plans to retire after this season, so it came as no surprise Thursday when SI.com reported the future Hall of Fame linebacker is bound for ESPN’s cast of a thousand former jocks.

All good. Lewis is almost as compelling as a talker as he has been as a player, complete with smoldering intensity and deep thoughts. Therein lies what should make his studio analyst career fascinating: Can he fit in in a culture that emphasizes inane banter punctuated by forced laughter?

Fortunately ESPN does less of that than its competitors, but still . . . I can see worried producers holding up cue cards for Lewis that read, simply: Smile, Ray!

Tags: NFL , ESPN

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