“‘Cedes is as good as it gets, and just a guy that has been able to play as long as he has is something special,” LaFleur said. “I’m sure there’s going to be some great learning and growth for both of those guys together and that room as a whole.”
The 2021 season triggers some bittersweet memories for Lewis, who spent the early part of the offseason lamenting his fumble during the first quarter of January’s NFC Divisional playoff game against San Francisco.
Admittedly, it was a good play by All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner, who timed his punch-out perfectly as Lewis turned up field. However, Lewis also acknowledges the turnover occurred at a time when the offense was driving, and momentum was fully in the Packers’ court.
Lewis can count on less than two hands how many plays he’d like back in his entire NFL career. That’s certainly one of them.
“It’s something that for at least a month and a half, I had nightmares about,” Lewis said. “But I’m able to confront the truth and look in the mirror every day because I know I never leave anything out on the field. I always give what I got.”
Lewis said he watched the play once, processed it and turned his attention to Year 17. The veteran tight end trusts his preparation and training, and also has played long enough to know those things can happen in the NFL.
Fully committed to another season, Lewis followed his usual offseason training regimen in California, which is heavily steeped in mixed martial arts. After heading home following minicamp, Lewis planned to ramp up his running and cardio before returning next month for his 17th NFL training camp.
Having blown past his original 10-year goal, Lewis said he feels like he’s “in another career” and that his fifth season in Green Bay reminds him a lot of playing out his five-year rookie deal in Jacksonville.
So, how long does Lewis want to keep playing? Well, there’s still two carrots out there for the veteran workhorse – the Super Bowl ring that’s eluded him, and the record for most NFL seasons played by a tight end he’s quickly gaining ground on.
“This year, I’ll tie the record,” Lewis said. “It would be great to break it and then I would consider, ‘OK, I’ve done that.’ Eighteen is kind of bizarre, especially at the tight end position.”