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Ray Lewis Drops Out of ‘Dancing With the Stars’ After Injury

Ray Lewis’ time on Dancing With the Stars season 28 is over. 

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The former NFL linebacker, 44, announced on the Monday, September 30, episode of DWTS that he will no longer compete on the ABC reality competition due to a foot injury. 

Ray Lewis and Cheryl Burke ABC/Eric McCandless

“An old injury flared up,” host Tom Bergeron said, explaining why Lewis had to drop out of the season.  

After the announcement, Lewis’ former partner, Cheryl Burke, took to her Instagram to reflect on her DWTS journey with the football player.

“Dancing with Ray has meant so much to me. His positivity and dedication are admirable, and his smile is contagious. The hard work he put into every practice and performance is something only a true athlete could do,” she wrote. “Being an athlete means pushing yourself past your limits, but also knowing when to take care of your body. Unfortunately, due to injuries he sustained to his foot, our journey to the mirror ball ends tonight. Ray, I wish you a safe and speedy recovery and look forward to seeing you do the squirrel dance again very soon. #TeamRAVENous.”

In a video package on Monday’s show, Lewis was seen training to dance the cha-cha in a tribute to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. But during rehearsals, an old injury flared up. After admitting that he “dealt with pain every practice,” the NFL star revealed that he’d torn three tendons in his foot, requiring surgery, and that his doctor had advised him to drop out of the competition.

“This was probably one of the hardest decisions of my life,” he admitted.

“I’ve had some of the best experiences of my life on this show. I met an entirely new family and experienced what I always wanted to experience, what dancing on the stage with Dancing With the Stars felt like,” he said. “It was absolutely incredible. I will never forget this.”

News of Lewis’ departure comes two days after he shared a cryptic Instagram post about sacrifice.  

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“Don’t get me wrong — I understand the grind — the effort and commitment it takes is unparalleled,” he 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.”

The post, which Burke reacted to with three prayer hands emojis, also included a photo of him cheering and a quote about self-care.

“We need to stop glorifying the person who works all weekend and rather praise the person who succeeds in finding balance between work, family, and rest,” the quote read. “Our culture of celebrating the workaholic is one of the main reasons we are seeing an increase in mental, emotional and physical burnout.” 

The former Baltimore Ravens player is the second contestant to withdraw from DWTS season 28. Before the current season’s premiere earlier this month, Christie Brinkley announced that she had dropped out after she fractured her wrist and arm during a dance rehearsal. The supermodel’s 21-year-old daughter, Sailor Brinkley-Cook, replaced her and is currently competing with pro Val Chmerkovskiy

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“While rehearsing for the premiere of Dancing With the Stars, Christie Brinkley suffered injuries which required surgery to her wrist and arm. She is unable to continue her planned participation on the show,” ABC said in a statement to Us Weekly on September 16. “Keeping it all in the family, her daughter Sailor Brinkley-Cook, a Sports Illustrated model, has chosen to quickly step in with hours to learn the entire routine and will compete in her mother’s place for the remainder of the season.”

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