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Dancing with the Stars has only just kicked off Season 28 on ABC, but it lost a big-name celebrity before even the first episode aired due to Christie Brinkley breaking her arm while preparing for her DWTS debut. Now, another celebrity may have had to withdraw from competition due to injury: former NFL star Ray Lewis, which would also mean an early exit for two-time professional DWTS dance champion Cheryl Burke. So, what's happening?
A source reportedly told ET that Ray Lewis and Cheryl Burke will withdraw from the September 30 round of the Dancing with the Stars competition because of an injury sustained by the celeb athlete, which would presumably mean that he's out for the whole season. ABC has yet to officially comment on the report that Lewis and Burke will withdraw, but Lewis did share a post on Instagram that may suggest that something game-changing happened to him behind the scenes.
Take a look a Ray Lewis' post:
Is this Ray Lewis' way of hinting that an injury has taken him out of the running for the Season 28 mirrorball trophy, preparing his fans before the official announcement during the September 30 episode? We can only speculate at this point, but dance partner Cheryl Burke did comment on the post with several supportive emojis.
Whether or not this was Ray Lewis teasing on injury, it does suggest that he believes he took on too much, and perhaps experienced a "mental, emotional, and physical burnout" and needs to take care of "Mind, Body, and Spirit" rather than "sacrifice" mental health.
Alternately, maybe he is just sharing some encouraging and reflective thoughts as he tackles yet another challenge. Whatever it means, the comment from Cheryl Burke seemingly indicates that she supports her partner, even if an injury or decision on his part takes her out of the running to partner another champion celebrity.
Cheryl Burke shared a cryptic Instagram post of her own:
If we take the report and posts as confirmation that Ray Lewis and Cheryl Burke are out of the game on Dancing with the Stars this season, what does it mean for the other competitors? While it does increase their odds of proceeding in the competition with one less celebrity dancer to worry about, Ray Lewis withdrawing is very different from arguably DWTS' MVP so far James Van Der Beek or Hannah Brown -- who admittedly may have an unfair advantage -- withdrawing.
Ray Lewis and Cheryl Burke were in the bottom two after the first week of competition, and it fell to the judges to choose between sending them home or Supremes singer Mary Wilson and professional dance partner Brandon Armstrong home. I personally was a bigger fan of Mary Wilson's dancing and sheer enthusiasm, but then, I'm not a Dancing with the Stars judge with the power -- fair or unfair -- to make that decision!
Tune in to ABC on Mondays at 8 p.m. ET for new episodes of Dancing with the Stars and updates on the status of the celebrity dancers. For some fun from former The Office star and current DWTS dancer Kate Flannery, check out her picks for the Office character who'd do best and worst on the dancing competition!