EXCLUSIVEFormer NFL star Jamal Lewis is willing to accept responsibility for a child he's accused of abandoning -- and pony up support as well -- he just wants to make sure the kid is really his.
The child's mother -- Juanitta Johnson -- filed a paternity action against Lewis back in July, claiming the ex-NFL player knocked her up in 2005 ... and has failed to a penny in support the child.
Lewis was arrested in Georgia on August 1 for failing to pay child support and charged with misdemeanor child abandonment -- an arrest Lewis calls "a misunderstanding."
Now, Lewis is going to court in Fulton County -- claiming he doesn't want to pay child support until he knows 100% the kid is his ... with the help of a DNA test.
If paternity is established, Lewis says he'd be happy to pony up. He says he'll also want visitation rights.
The child's mother is asking for $5,236/month in support ... which could prove difficult, given that Lewis filed for bankruptcy back in May.
Sources close to Lewis tell TMZ that his relationship with Johnson has deteriorated to the point that they only communicate through legal counsel. We're told Jamal has provided for his son in the past, but he simply can't continue to afford the child support payments he making before since he is no longer playing in the NFL and is going through bankruptcy.
A judge has yet to rule.