Jets O-Lineman Announces Surprise Retirement as NY Travels to Green Bay

Alex Lewis

Getty Former New York Jets guard Alex Lewis takes part in training camp drills on July 28, 2021.

It’s official, something many New York Jets fans feared is now confirmed.

Left guard Alex Lewis has decided to walk away from the NFL.

Back on August 6, the interior lineman shifted from the active roster to the Exempt/Left Squad list when George Fant returned from the Reserve/COVID list. At the time, New York Post reporter Brian Costello hinted that this could mean Lewis was considering retirement.

He wrote: “The Lewis situation is a mystery. He left practice Thursday with what head coach Robert Saleh described as a head injury. But a ‘left squad’ designation could mean he is contemplating retirement.”

ESPN reporter Rich Cimini summed up his time with the franchise. Needless to say, the Jets do recoup the $1.67 million cap space spent on the guard once this decision is finalized.

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Timing of Lewis’ Decision Couldn’t Be Worse for Jets

First off, after a head injury you really just pray that Lewis is okay mentally. He’s been involved in a couple of locker room disagreements in the past and you hope that he’s not feeling any sort of anxiety or depression brought on by head trauma — something that has become more and more prevalent with football players.

From the Jets side of things, this loss hurts.

There’s no sugar-coating it, Dan Feeney has been terrible since taking over for Alijah Vera-Tucker and Lewis at left guard, and he’s been making things tougher on everyone. That includes left tackle Mekhi Becton and center Connor McGovern in particular, but it does not exclude rookie quarterback Zach Wilson.

This offensive line needs their rookie first-rounder back in the worst way because depth is sparse without Lewis. General manager Joe Douglas did pick up undrafted free agent David Moore off waivers. The rookie was supposedly “coveted” by multiple teams before the Jets plucked him off the market.

BYU product Tristen Hoge is also amongst those that could rise to the occasion with holes at guard, along with free-agent acquisition Corey Levin.

Remember back in the offseason when fans were discussing the idea of releasing Greg Van Roten? Those days are long gone. Now the Jets desperately need ‘GVR’ to stay on the field.

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Gang Green Hits Green Bay

The franchise traveled north to embark on their first joint practice with the Green Bay Packers today. Coach Saleh talked about the value of these moments on August 17.

“I think we can get a lot out of it,” the Jets HC told reporters, “it’s an opportunity to compete against a championship roster and obviously a new set of plays, scheme… and I value these things greatly just because if you go in there with the right intent to compete and not look at it like it’s a free-fall… I think it’s just valuable.”

One of the main reasons this agreement occurred was because of the relationship between Saleh and Packers head coach Matt LaFleur. The latter was actually best-man at Saleh’s wedding and we have yet to take into account that he now employs his younger brother, Jets offensive coordinator, Mike LaFleur.

“We’ve had a lot of discussion to make sure that we’re both getting the work that we need,” explained Saleh on his talks with Matt LaFleur. He even referred to the joint practices as a “collaboration” between the two franchises.

“When we were sitting there as [graduate assistants] at Central Michigan I don’t think we ever thought that this would happen, but it’s pretty cool that it did,” Saleh concluded.

Van Roten also chimed in on the benefit of the collaborative effort.

“This is a great opportunity to compete against somebody else,” Van Roten stated during a press conference on August 17. He continued: “I think it’s a good tool that teams can use to kind of evaluate their guys and break up the monotony of training camp.”

“It’s definitely exciting to go up against somebody different and see what you’re made of,” GVR added, “as a team, it’s pretty cool to go against the Packers because perennially they are one of the best teams in the NFL so it’s a good test for our entire team to see how we stack up.”

After day one of practice, here are some of the interesting takeaways so far.

  • Wilson spoke with Aaron Rodgers on the sideline, what can the young signal-caller take away from this experience with the legendary QB?
  • The Jets’ offensive line got torched by Z’Darius Smith and the Packers in pass protection today. Becton and Feeney struggled once again but as a whole, it wasn’t pretty.
  • Bryce Hall held up in coverage against Davante Adams on day one, the rest of the Jets’ secondary was less impressive.
  • Wilson made some plays under pressure but was swarmed in the pocket by seven official sacks (possibly two more unofficial) and hindered by two wide receiver drops.

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