One of the “Dancing With the Stars” duos has been sidelined.
As Monday’s show kicked off, host Tom Bergeron noted contestant Ray Lewis’ absence, saying “an old injury flared up that’s taken him out of the competition.”
Later in the episode, the show cut to rehearsals between Lewis and his pro partner, Cheryl Burke. The two were practicing their cha-cha-cha tribute to “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” when Lewis cried out in pain.
“In a game in 2010 I tore a tendon in my foot,” Lewis recalled. “And now, all of this dancing, all this on your toes. I’m reliving a problem that I thought I’d never have to relive again. … I dealt with pain every practice.”
“When he read that MRI to me today, I knew something was wrong,” Lewis continued. Then we see a shot of the player’s foot looking incredibly painful (ewww), and a doctor tells him he’s torn three tendons and requires surgery.
Lewis broke the news to Burke with the doctor’s orders: “I gotta leave the competition.”
Back live with Bergeron, Lewis said, “God don’t make no mistakes. … It taught me to dance again.”
Even though Lewis won’t be advancing in the competition, fans still got a glimpse at what could have been, when Bergeron brought out Season 24 mirror ball winner and NFL star Rashad Jennings, who cha-cha-cha-ed in to perform Lewis’ number for the audience.
Lewis’ withdrawal from the show came three days after he described the importance of mental health in an Instagram post.
“Don’t get me wrong- I understand the grind- the effort and commitment it takes is unparalleled,” he wrote. “But when you finally level up what else will be left? Did you cut off your friends and family or sacrifice your mental health?”
He added: “Make time for what matters. Take care of yourself. Mind, Body, and Spirit.”
Lewis’ post seemed to earn approval from Burke, who commented three hands up emojis.
Burke, 35, revealed in her own Instagram post Sunday the upcoming live show had her in “deep thought,” perhaps referencing her and Lewis’ upcoming announcement.
Before his sidestep into the dance world, Pro Football Hall of Famer Lewis, 44, won two Super Bowls and was a 13-time Pro Bowler during a 16-year career as a linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens.
During last week’s episode, Lewis had his dancing face on during a passionate foxtrot that had the judges impressed after a weaker dance in the previous week. There were foot mistakes, but the judges said they saw improvement and energy.
Judge Carrie Ann Inaba loved the dance despite “tons of mistakes.”
“Whatever happens, you always light up the room,” judge Bruno Tonioli added. “You sold it. Next time, if you come back, make sure you don’t make so many mistakes.”
Lewis responded, “It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. It’s what the journey is about.”
Their foxtrot earned them a final score of 15/30.
SOURCE: USA Today – Charles Trepany, Susan Haas, Bryan Alexander, Chris Bumbaca