Ray Lewis Explains His Decision to Withdraw From 'DWTS' as Rashad Jennings Steps In to Dance With Cheryl Burke

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Ray Lewis is opening up about his shocking withdrawal from Dancing With the Stars.

During Monday's Movie Night, he and his pro partner, Cheryl Burke, explained what led to the former NFL star's decision to forfeit the competition.

At the top of the show, host Tom Bergeron announced that "an old injury flared up" for Lewis, which is why he wasn't dancing in the opening number. A package then played, showing Lewis at the doctor's -- he tore three tendons and was told he would need to undergo surgery. Lewis revealed that he first tore a tendon in his foot at a game in 2010, and never thought he'd have to deal with this problem again.

"It's an experience I'll never forget," Lewis raved of his brief time on DWTS. "It taught me to dance again."

Former mirrorball champion (and fellow former NFL pro) Rashad Jennings stepped in last minute to dance a Cha Cha to the Beatles' "Twist and Shout" with Burke.

Lewis also took to Instagram, writing, "Not the ending I had hoped or worked for but that mirror ball wasn’t in the plans for me."

"I can't say thank you enough for the support and love 🙏🏿💜," he continued. "Injuries have never stopped me before and certainly not now. I'll be back doing the squirrel dance soon enough."

ET broke the news just hours ahead of the show -- a source told us that the two were planning to withdraw from the competition due to an injury that Lewis had sustained. The revelation came after Lewis and Burke both shared cryptic posts to their Instagram accounts just days apart.

"Don't get me wrong -- I understand the grind -- the effort and commitment it takes is unparalleled," wrote Lewis. "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," he continued. "Take care of yourself. Mind, Body, and Spirit. #NoExcuses."

Burke's post included a photo of herself in her trailer, looking into the distance. "Hair courtesy of @kelseygusto, glam courtesy of @crabichuk, deep thought courtesy of the upcoming live show. #DWTS," she captioned it.

Four days prior, Burke revealed that she and Lewis were "working harder than ever" to get their Cha Cha "in good shape" for Monday's show.

Hear more on #TeamRavenous in the video below.

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