There are a lot of intriguing prospects in the Stampeders’ rookie camp but none more so than Tommy Lewis.
Football fans will probably recognize that name.
Back in 2019, when he played for the New Orleans Saints, Lewis became famous for the non-call.
The Saints were playing the Los Angeles Rams in the conference final when it appeared Nickell Robey-Coleman interfered with Lewis in the final minutes of the game.
The refs didn’t throw the flag and the Rams went on to win the game and head to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the New England Patriots.
Lewis says even though it happened four years ago, people still want to talk about the non-call.
“I just got asked about it right before practice. Jake (Maier) actually asked me about it,” he said.
“Honestly, I hate getting asked about that play and being remembered for the wrong reason, but it was a big play in history and it was fun.”
STAMPS HAD AN EYE ON LEWIS FOR YEARS
Lewis played five seasons in the NFL, four with the Saints and one with the Miami Dolphins.
The Stamps have had their eye on him since 2016, when they were scouting Juwan Brescacin at Northern Illinois University.
That’s when the Stamps told him they wanted him to come up to Canada and play.
Brendan Mahoney, director of player personnel and assistant general manager, says patience paid off in this case.
“He was on our negotiation list for seven years, so I’d say we were pretty patient with him,” Mahoney said.
“Obviously, we had a (rapport) with Tommy because we had him down in Florida (for free agent camp) with us and you know, when he’d become available, we’d talk to him and he’d say, ‘Oh I think I’m going to get one more contract down here (in the NFL),’ and we’d say, ‘That’s fine. We’re going to keep you on the negotiation list and one day, we’re going to get you up here.'”
FINALLY, THE TIMING WAS RIGHT
Lewis appreciated the persistence and being wanted and says the timing was right to sign with the Stampeders.
“Being I had a relationship with this team, I kind of followed them a little more,” the 30-year-old said.
“I watched the games and would shoot them a text saying, ‘You’re doing a good job,’ even when I was in the NFL. When it finally came that the train had moved on from the NFL, I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m ready to come up.'”
BUILT FOR THE CFL
Lewis isn’t very big, listed at 5’7″ and 168 pounds.
But with the big field and his speed, Lewis could be the perfect fit for the CFL.
He knows other smaller players have thrived in this league.
“I’ve heard that since probably my junior year in College, that the CFL game could be special,” Lewis said.
“I’ve watched guys like Stefan Logan and Brandon Banks. I’ve actually reached out to those guys when I was in college at the time. I spoke to Brandon Banks a few times in college and like I said, there were no guarantees I was going to make it (in) the NFL, so my eyes were already set on the CFL anyway.
“A guy with my skill set, I would for sure be tailored to the big field and speed, so I’m excited to see what it’s all about.”
Rookie camp runs until Friday.
Main camp gets underway Sunday.
The Stamps will play their first pre-season game May 22, when they host the Edmonton Elks.