On Monday, the Chicago Bears announced the re-signing of 40-year-old tight end Marcedes Lewis. The 6’6 265 pound blocking specialist will be entering his 19th season in the NFL. 

If Lewis appears in just four games, he will surpass Jason Witten and Tony Gonzalez in career games played among tight ends.

During last season’s win versus the Cardinals, Lewis passed Aaron Rodgers for the most starts by an active player in the NFL.


Early Life + High School

Marcedes Lewis was born and raised in Southern California. Lewis was a football and basketball star at Long Beach Polytechnic High School. Some notable alumni include JuJu Smith-Schuster, DeSean Jackson, and Matt Corral.

On the basketball court, Lewis averaged over 19 points and 11 rebounds during his varsity career, earning multiple area awards.

On the gridiron, Lewis played quarterback his freshman year before officially transitioning to tight end as a sophomore. In addition to his new role, Lewis also played defensive end. In his senior season, Lewis had 44 receptions for 710 yards and 11 touchdowns. Defensively, he racked up seven sacks.

Lewis’ switch to tight end would pay off big time in the future. When recruitment rolled around, Lewis was the consensus #1 tight end in the nation. Despite fielding offers from Florida State, USC, Oregon, and Washington, Lewis committed to UCLA to play both football and basketball.


UCLA

Admittedly, Lewis had a tough time in college during his freshman year. In both football and basketball, he saw limited playing time. Despite appearing in all 12 games, Lewis only had 6 catches for 51 yards and a touchdown as a freshman. 

After one year, Lewis decided the year-round travel had taken its toll, so he decided to focus solely on football. This was ultimately the correct decision. 

Before his sophomore season, UCLA brought in a new coaching staff led by head coach Karl Dorrell. In week one of Lewis’ sophomore campaign, he impressed with 6 catches for 96 yards and a touchdown against a ranked Colorado squad. With an increased workload, Lewis would finish the year with 30 receptions for 377 yards and 3 touchdowns in 13 games played.

In 2004 as a junior, Lewis slightly improved on his previous season’s stats. In 12 games, Lewis had 32 receptions for 402 yards with 7 touchdowns. He recorded two outings with over 60 receiving yards, including a 99-yard and 3-touchdown performance versus Arizona. 

Lewis’ senior year was the most successful team he played on during his time at UCLA. In 2005, UCLA finished 10-2 as a top-15 team in the nation despite coming short of a Pac-12 Championship appearance. Lewis was definitely a reason for the team’s success. 

Lewis recorded 3 games with over 100 receiving yards and 4 games with multiple touchdowns. He would start off hot as in week one; he racked up 131 yards on 7 catches at San Diego State. In the team’s ninth game, UCLA was upset at Arizona despite Lewis having the best game of his career. In the 14-52 defeat, he had 11 catches for 131 yards and 2 touchdowns. Lewis would stay hot as the very next week, he would post another 100-plus yard and 2-touchdown performance, this time versus Arizona State. 

Lewis finished his career-best senior season with 58 receptions for 741 yards and 10 touchdowns. His impact was widely acknowledged as he was named a consensus All-American, as well as the winner of the John Mackey Award (best tight end).

All in all, Lewis left UCLA with 1,571 receiving yards on 126 receptions and 21 touchdowns. His 21 receiving touchdowns are still the 2nd most all-time in UCLA history. Lewis was inducted into the UCLA Hall of Fame in 2022. Lewis’ consistency, ability, and hard work all would lead to his eventual first-round selection in the NFL Draft.


Jacksonville Jaguars

The 2006 NFL Draft featured multiple college legends, including Reggie Bush, Vince Young, A.J. Hawk, and fellow tight end Vernon Davis. Two notable Bears players selected in 2006 include Hall of Famer Devin Hester and Jay Cutler (drafted by Denver).

With the 28th pick in the 1st Round, the Jacksonville Jaguars, coached by Jack Del Rio, selected Marcedes Lewis. With their next pick, the Jaguars selected Lewis’ UCLA teammate, running back Maurice Jones-Drew, in the 2nd Round. Lewis and Jones-Drew entered an offense led by quarterback David Garrard.

After only starting three games in his rookie season, Lewis started every game he appeared in for 11 straight seasons in Jacksonville. 

Undoubtedly, Lewis’ personal best season came in 2010. With the same core of Del Rio, Garrard, Jones-Drew, and Lewis, the Jaguars had another mediocre year, finishing 8-8. Despite the disappointing record, Lewis excelled on the field, finishing with career highs in receptions (58), receiving yards (700), and touchdowns (10). Along with Jones-Drew, Lewis was selected to the Pro Bowl following this campaign. His 10 scores are tied for the 2nd-most receiving touchdowns in a single season in Jaguars history. 

In March 2018, the Jaguars released Lewis despite him being the longest-tenured player on the team. Lewis felt betrayed and stated, “I think I deserved a little better than I got…” To this day, Lewis is still a Jaguars legend as he ranks second all-time in touchdown receptions (33) and third in catches (375) and receiving yards (4,502) for Jacksonville.


Green Bay Packers

In May 2018, the Green Bay Packers signed Lewis to a one-year deal. At this time, it was clear he had lost some athleticism; however, he was still viewed as one of the best blocking tight ends in the league.

Lewis would end up spending five seasons in Green Bay. In 2018 and 2019, Lewis saw his role reduced as he entered a tight end room featuring Jimmy Graham and Robert Tonyan. After the departure of Jimmy Graham, Lewis started in every game he appeared with Green Bay for the next three years.

During his time with the Packers, Lewis recorded 57 receptions for 582 yards and 6 touchdowns.


Bears

After hitting free agency, Lewis signed with the Chicago Bears for his 18th season in August 2023. Lewis joined former Packers Luke Getsy, Equanimeous St. Brown, Lucas Patrick, and Robert Tonyan in Chicago. 

Last season, Lewis appeared in all 17 games with 4 starts, primarily as a blocker. He finished the year with 4 receptions for 29 yards and a memorable touchdown.


Once again, “Big Dog” is back in town, as the Bears clearly value both his blocking and leadership skills. If he is on the active roster this season, it will surely create a surreal moment for fans and Lewis alike when he breaks the all-time games played record among tight ends.
Although he may not be a Hall of Famer, Marcedes Lewis has certainly left an impact on and off the football field that will be remembered.

PHOTO: Athlon Sports

Comments are closed.

Check Also

Caleb Williams, Rome Odunze Have Not Signed Rookie Contracts

With under two weeks left until the start of training camp, there are currently five first…