There was plenty of uncertainty swirling today regarding veteran running back Jamal Lewis. Not present at practice, nor the locker room media portion that followed, The Plain Dealer speculated that Lewis’ season could be over. Not long thereafter, WTAM/AM1100 confirmed that Lewis in fact will be placed on the Injured Reserve ending his season and perhaps his career.
With three running backs (Lewis, Jerome Harrison and practice squad add-on Chris Jennings) on the Browns roster, many fans found it odd that the team would be trying out the NFL-turned-UFL running back DeDe Dorsey. Given the uncertainty regarding the use of Harrison, this was understandable. But with this news regarding Lewis, we apparently have our answer.
Lewis had been a major talking point through the 2009 season. With the Browns drafting his (then thought) heir apparent in James Davis, it was obvi0us that Lewis was not exactly in the future plans for Eric Mangini. Then about a month into the season, Lewis – emotional off of yet another defeat – claimed that he was retiring at the end of the season.
“It is very hard,” he said. “Very. I think this is my last year. I think this is it. Honestly, the way it looks, you know, I had a good run.”
Thinking things would have gotten better over the bye week, we could not have been more wrong. A few days later, Lewis went on attack mode, claiming that Mangini was working players too hard. This lead to fatigue and poor play, especially late in games.
Speculation ran wild that Lewis could be moving his chess pieces in line with former teammates Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow. A veteran player in a rebuilding situation, Lewis’ best years were behind him and he was obviously unhappy with every facet of this season.
The team would later rally around Lewis as alleged chants of “J-Lew” were popular amongst the Browns locker room. Unlike the abovementioned, Lewis reportedly had a lot of respect in the locker room and was a vocal leader inside the confines of Berea. A few day’s following the chants, Craig penned that the Browns would be wise to move on without Lewis – and it appears that they will now be forced to do such.
And how are the Browns handling these injuries now?
“It is definitely a challenge,” said linebacker David Bowens. ”One thing I told the guys this morning is that we are going to have to put 11 out there on Sunday.” He went on to say, ”We are going to expect everyone to do their job no matter what position they are playing, no matter what name is on the back of your jersey. It is going to be time to play ball, take heed to the game plan so that when we go out on Sunday we are all playing fast.”
Defensive back Eric Wright also had his two cents. ”It’s definitely difficult when guys go down, but that’s the name of the game. It’s a long season,” he said. “You never want it to happen but at some point guys are going to get injured. We’ve had a lot, so a lot of guys are going to have to step up and full some shoes.”
As of this post, there is no mention of what “injury” Lewis has. Reports mention that the team will be forced to put him on the injury list for this week’s game, then making it more clear – at least as clear as NFL injury lists can be. Updated reports do hint that Lewis has a concussion, and was seeing a specialist this afternoon. The Plain Dealer speculates that Lewis will address the situation later this week.
Do not be surprised to see similar news regarding free safety Brodney Pool. With the Browns going nowhere for the rest of the 2009 season, a fourth or fifth career concussion is not worth suiting up for the final slate of games.
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