Dancing With The Stars kicked off with a dramatic revelation Monday night, even before the dancers took to the floor. Hosts Tom Bergeron and Erin Andrews confirmed Ray Lewis dropped out over an injury, following reports that he will no longer be competing for the Mirrorball Trophy. Lewis' decision came a week after he was close to being the first contestant eliminated.
Bergeron said an "old injury flared up," which "took him out of the competition."
Before the show, sources close to Lewis and his pro dance partner, Cheryl Burke, told Entertainment Tonight he was withdrawing because of an injury. However, the nature of the injury was not confirmed until the broadcast.
The NFL Hall of Famer, who won Super Bowl XXXV and XLVII with the Baltimore Ravens, hinted he was rethinking his commitment to the show in a lengthy Instagram post over the weekend. The post included a quote about "finding balance between work, family and rest."
"Don't get me wrong- I understand the grind- the effort and commitment it takes is unparalleled," Lewis wrote in the caption. "But when you finally level up what else will be left? Did you cut off your friends and family or sacrifice your mental health? Make time for what matters. Take care of yourself. Mind, Body, and Spirit. #NoExcuses."
Lewis' casting on DWTS was not without controversy. During last week's episode, viewers took to Twitter to point out that Lewis was once involved in a murder case.
Lewis, Reginald Oakley and Joseph Sweeting were charged in the deaths of Jacinth Baker and Richard Lollar. The two died during a fight in Atlanta after a Super Bowl party in 2000. Lewis agreed to plead to a lower charge in exchange for testifying against the other two defendants. None of the defendants in the case went to jail, as Oakley and Sweeting were acquitted on self defense. The exact circumstances of the fight remain unclear.
Lewis is the second DWTS celebrity to leave the show with an injury this season, although the first since Season 28 kicked off. Christie Brinkley was announced as one of the contestants, but days before the premiere, she hurt her arm. Her daughter, Sailor Brinkley-Cook, replaced Brinkley.
Lewis was one of the bottom two vote-getters after Week 2, along with The Supremes singer Mary Wilson. Judges Carrie Ann Inaba, Bruno Tonioli and Len Goodman chose Lewis to stay over Wilson, even though Wilson earned better scores. Lewis and Burke both earned 15/30 scores for their first two dances.0comments
Dancing With The Stars airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
Photo credit: ABC/Eric McCandless