Chad Lewis shares life lessons he learned playing youth football


welcome to why we playa series of chats with current players and NFL legends about their youth football experience and why they play the game.

Chad Lewis credits youth football with helping him become a professional football player – and a better man.

“The whole ‘all for one, one for all’ mentality – that’s football, and it starts in youth football,” Lewis said. “If the running back is going to score a touchdown, there has to be a good block. If we want to stop the other team, it has to be a form tackle.

“This concept of teamwork is where it all starts. Starting all of this at a young age is so beneficial.”

Lewis grew up in Orem, Utah, a town less than an hour south of Salt Lake City. He started out playing flag football and then progressed to tackle college football. He credits his coaches for challenging him and helping mold him from an early age.

“A good coach, at this age, hopefully cares more about you than wins and losses,” Lewis said. ” I was lucky. I had coaches who were amazing. They cared about me and my development, so they challenged me. Like running wind sprints. If I was at home, I wouldn’t have run. These challenges have helped me grow as a man.

Lewis said the best coaches of his childhood were able to train kids with different backgrounds, athletic abilities and personalities into a cohesive team.

“If you’re the coolest kid in school and a star player, how do you deal with linemen who are bigger, slower and maybe very conscious of their looks? If you’re the superstar and you treat these guys like bullies, who’s going to control you?” Lewis said. “I hope the youth football coach is the one who says we don’t treat people like that. And learning those lessons, working as a team, that’s youth football.

Lewis brought what he learned from his youth coaches at Orem High School and then Brigham Young University where he was an extra who emerged as a tight end All-WAC contributor. In 1997, he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles and began a nine-year career in the NFL.

In 116 career games, Lewis has racked up 229 total receptions, 2,361 receiving yards and 23 touchdowns. He was a Pro Bowler in 2000, 2001 and 2002, and helped the Eagles to a Super Bowl appearance by scoring two touchdowns in the 2004 NFC Championship Game.

Lewis has traveled to Taiwan, Singapore and Thailand on behalf of the NFL to promote the league overseas. And he’s also worked with the next generation close to home, spending time talking to youth soccer teams in and around Philadelphia and his native Utah.

“I can’t tell you how many times I went to talk in youth training and games when I played,” he said. “The only time I said no was if I wasn’t going to be in town that day. I will do whatever I can to help a junior football team.

“My main message is to be cool with your parents. Who cooks your dinner, who drives you to practice, who cleans your clothes? I start with that. as possible and work as a team, because football is the ultimate team game.

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