OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- Ray Lewis said the Baltimore Ravens chose not to sign Colin Kaepernick after the quarterback's girlfriend posted a "racist" tweet featuring the former All-Pro linebacker and owner Steve Bisciotti.
"We were going to close the deal to sign him," Lewis said on Showtime's "Inside the NFL" on Tuesday night. "Steve Bisciotti said, 'I want to hear Colin Kaepernick speak to let me know that he wants to play football.'"
"And it never happens because that picture comes up the next day."
The Aug. 2 tweet by Nessa Diab compared a picture of Lewis hugging Bisciotti to a scene from "Django Unchained," in which Samuel L. Jackson as a loyal house slave held Leonardo DiCaprio's cruel plantation owner character.
"His girl [Diab] goes out and put out this racist gesture and doesn't know we are in the back office about to try to get this guy signed," Lewis said. "Steve Bisciotti has said it himself: 'How can you crucify Ray Lewis when Ray Lewis is the one calling for Colin Kaepernick?'"
Lewis was asked whether the Ravens would have signed Kaepernick if not for the tweet.
"Then he's flying him to Baltimore," Lewis said. "I am sitting with all three of them and we are all having a conversation about bringing Colin Kaepernick in."
On Wednesday, Ravens coach John Harbaugh didn't directly address Lewis' assertion.
"I'm not exactly sure what all was said. But I can tell you this: I'm way past that," Harbaugh said before practice. "I haven't even thought about that for weeks. Our focus is Cincinnati."
Asked if this is an unwanted distraction, Harbaugh said, "We have two healthy quarterbacks and we're ready to roll."
Kaepernick drew national attention last season when he knelt during the national anthem before games as a protest of social injustice, which he said he will no longer do in 2017.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh brought up the possibility of pursuing Kaepernick at the opening of training camp, when quarterback Joe Flacco informed the team of his back injury. Team president Dick Cass later indicated that the Ravens had direct contact with Kaepernick, who informed Baltimore that he still desired to play.
Ravens officials acknowledged they had consulted with fans and former and current players, as well as sponsors, about Kaepernick.
"Pray for us," Bisciotti said of the team when weighing its decision.
Kaepernick's girlfriend then posted the picture of Bisciotti and Lewis three days later.