Why the Detroit Lions newest signing must thank Bill Parcells
The Detroit Lions continue to bring in free agents, now signing a former Saint receiver who owns his NFL career, in part, to the great Bill Parcells.
The Detroit Lions announced on Tuesday they have signed former New Orleans Saints wide receiver and special teams returner Tommylee Lewis. Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.
Undrafted out of Northern Illinois in 2016, the 5-foot-7, 168-pound dynamo has spent the past three seasons in New Orleans. But his unlikely professional football career might not have even existed if not for the recommendation of legendary head coach Bill Parcells.
A former college teammate of current Lions’ star wide receiver Kenny Golladay, Lewis had little interest from NFL teams coming out of college. That’s despite posting an impressive 86 receptions for 715 yards and three touchdowns in 2013 as a Junior. Lewis also had 356 rushing yards and another score on the ground, giving him over 1,000 all-purpose yards from scrimmage in 12 games.
The only offers Lewis received were from the Atlanta Falcons and the Canadian Football League. But that changed when Parcells contact Saints’ head coach Sean Payton. The two-time Super Bowl winning head coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer had become a mentor to Lewis due to being friends with his high school coach.
That recommendation landed the diminutive Lewis in New Orleans where he wowed onlookers in practices, earning him a place on the active roster and a three-year NFL career so far.
As a receiver, Lewis posted a total of 20 catches for 252 yards and two touchdowns for the Saints. As a returner, he racked up 36 punt returns and 24 kick returns during his time in New Orleans. Over his career, Lewis has averaged 22.0 yards on kick returns and 9.3 yards on punts.
Lewis is best known for being the Saints’ receiver who was involved in the controversial non-called pass interference penalty in the NFC Championship Game last season that ended up costing New Orleans a Super Bowl appearance, allowing the Los Angeles Rams to advance instead.
In Detroit, Tommylee Lewis should compete for time in the slot against newcomer Danny Amendola and Brandon Powell. Although Lewis is capable of playing outside as well. He’ll also be earmarked to share special teams returner duties with All-Pro Jamal Agnew, a role previously held by wideout T.J. Jones, who is currently a free agent.