Aaron Rodgers has always been a huge fan of what veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis brings to the Green Bay Packers, but it turns out he played a bigger role than people realize in bringing the former first-round pick to the team.
Lewis published a personal piece to The Players’ Tribune on September 9 — entitled “For the G” — in which he described what it has meant to him to be a Packer over the past four seasons of his career. He talked about how “special” and “unique” of a place Green Bay is and declared that “the sky is the limit” for the Packers’ offense heading into their first season since 2014 without Davante Adams in the lineup.
He also explained how he might not have even been a part of it if it weren’t for a phone call he received from Rodgers back in March 2018 that shaped his future.
Rodgers Called Lewis ‘The Perfect Piece for This Puzzle’
Lewis found himself in an unexpected position in 2018. The Jacksonville Jaguars — who had drafted him No. 28 overall in the 2006 NFL draft — had just released him and left him feeling “blindsided” and unsure about his future. He briefly considered retirement, but a conversation with his mom talked him out of that option. So, after the draft came and went, he said his agent told him there were about “eight or nine teams” that had been asking about him, and that “the Packers wouldn’t stop calling.”
Initially, Lewis dismissed the idea of talking with the Packers. He had heard about the cold weather in Green Bay and wasn’t looking to make a polar plunge after playing the first 12 seasons of his career in Jacksonville, Florida. What happened next, though, helped change Lewis’ mind on the subject. Here’s what he wrote:
Then I got a call from Aaron Rodgers.
And I have to tell you: No matter how many years you’ve played in the NFL, or what you’ve accomplished, when a guy who’s destined for a gold jacket calls you up, you answer — and you listen. And I’m glad I did, because what he said to me still gives me chills to this day. He said, “I’ve followed your career and I know what you bring to the table. And to have a guy of your caliber — what you do on the field and how you lead — you’re the perfect piece for this puzzle.”
Lewis added that former Packers tight end Jimmy Graham also called him to recruit him to the Packers, putting aside the fact that Lewis’ arrival would mean fewer snaps for him and doing his part to help bring a useful weapon to their offense. Such a selfless pursuit on behalf of the team left a strong impression on Lewis.
“He didn’t care,” Lewis wrote about Graham. “Because it wasn’t about him. It was about the team. It was about that G on his helmet. That’s not just a Jimmy thing. That’s a culture thing, top-down.”
Lewis Promises Packers Will Be ‘Ready’ for 2022 Run
Since coming to Green Bay in 2018, Lewis has become a veteran staple for their offense. He’s not the volume pass-catcher that he was in the early years of his career in Jacksonville, but his abilities as a blocker have been a difference-maker for the Packers offense, particularly in the run game. He has also proven trustworthy on the rare occasion where Rodgers needs him to pull down a reception — and usually gets his teammates going whenever he makes a play.
But Lewis — and the rest of the veterans — understand that things will look different for the offense in 2022. Gone are top pass-catchers Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and in their place are a mixture of veterans and rookies who will be trusted to hold the pace in the upcoming season. They have also lost a few of their top offensive coaches in Nathaniel Hackett and Luke Getsy, indicating the offense will function differently than they have over the past few seasons.
Whatever challenges await, though, Lewis knows his Packers are ready.
“Now, I’m not a rah-rah guy and I don’t do predictions,” Lewis wrote. “So the only thing I can truly guarantee is that this group will be ready for whatever is in front of us. This season will probably look different from what Packers fans are used to. It will be more of a journey, and how we end the season will very much depend on how much we grow as the season progresses. We get to figure out who we are as we go, then try to be the best version of that once the playoffs roll around.”