Wide reeceiver Greg Lewis, who was acquired from the Philadelphia Eagles March 5 in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick, chatted with reporters via conference call this afternoon.
The 29-year-old, who spent the first six years of his career with the Eagles, talked about his past success against the Patriots, why he became expendable in Philadelphia, and his affinity for chess, among other topics.
To read the entire Q&A as provided by the Patriots media relations department, click "full entry" at the bottom of the post.
Did you have any inclination that this trade was going to happen? Did you think you were going to be sent out of Philadelphia or did this catch you off guard?
Lewis: It really didnít catch me off guard. You could see the writing on the wall with the guys they had there in Philadelphia. My role had diminished. That was something that could happen and it did.
What is your reaction?
Lewis: My reaction is excited to be up here in New England and get an opportunity to be with a great organization, that Mr. Kraft has built, get out here, try to fit in as best I can and do what Iím capable of doing.
Iíve read that your scouting report is a precise route runner with good hands. Do you think that is accurate and how do you think that will fit in New Englandís offense?
Lewis: Well, it seems like the offense is based on being where you are supposed to be and be there on time. And when youíre there Tom [Brady] does a great job of getting the ball to you and make plays after that. I think it will fit in well here. I am just looking forward to the opportunity of getting on the field with these guys here, learning the offense and using my skills to best help this organization.
What was your relationship like with Terrell Owens when he played with you in Philadelphia, of course heís in this division now?
Lewis: He was cool with me. We were both receivers and both in the same meeting rooms together. Usually, you have a rapport with the guys you spend the most time with. I talked to all the receivers we had in Philadelphia until this day. I am cool with him and I believe heís cool with me.
What roles have you filled out on special teams and how do you think you will fit in here?
Lewis: I fit in here with whatever they ask me to do. I am willing and ready to compete for an opportunity to play on special teams. Iíve been the gunner on the punt coverage teams. Iíve been the guy thatís defended the gunner. Iíve been on the kickoff team as a safety and as a guy running down there to try to get involved. Iíve been on the punt return team as a returner Ė that didnít work well. But, Iíve also been on punt return team as a blocker, trying to block kicks. Iím capable of doing any and everything they ask me to do. I am just looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of it.
You said you could see the writing on the wall with the way things were unfolding in Philadelphia. What exactly happened?
Lewis: They had DeSean Jackson who came in and had an outstanding year as a rookie. He was going to get an opportunity to play. They had Kevin Curtis who came back from an injury after six games and he was doing well. Jason Avant was pretty much the third receiver out there and he was doing a great job. Hank Baskett was also involved in that group too, so those were the four guys. Then, me and Reggie Brown didnít know where we fit in so to speak. We had roles that we could do but we werenít obligated or asked to fill them out in certain situations. One game I was down, one game he was down and you could see that they were going in a different direction. I have no ill feelings towards anything that took place in Philadelphia. I moved on, they moved on and I got a fresh start here.
You have a good background playing against the Patriots. You had your first touchdown and your first 100-yard gain. Is it funny that now you are playing for them? Do you think that had anything to do with Coach Belichick wanting to acquire you?
Lewis: Honestly, anytime I get an opportunity to play I try to do my best. When I did get an opportunity against the Patriots I played pretty well, but I donít think that had anything to do with him trying to trade for me. I think he liked what he saw on tape and he liked what he saw when we played against him. Obviously, he got me up here and Iím excited for the opportunity. Iím looking forward to proving why he brought me up here.
What are your recollections of Super Bowl XXXIX?
Lewis: Theyíre all there. We were on the losing end of it. It was a great experience, being only in my second year in the league. Being in the Super Bowl itself was exciting. The main goal once you get to the Super Bowl was to win it and we didnít win it. I did some good things and I did some bad things, but thatís all in the past for me now. Iím looking forward to moving forward with this organization and trying to get things started here for myself and my team.
Have you had a chance to talk to Tom Brady and what are your impressions of him?
Lewis: I met Tom today at a workout and in the locker room. He came up to me and welcomed me to the team. He seemed like a great guy. Iíve seen him on film do great things. I am just looking forward to [getting to work].
You said that you saw Tom Brady in the locker room. Do you feel that he looked like a guy that was going to be able to start the regular season?
Lewis: Well, I didnít graduate with a Ph.D., or an M.D., or any of those doctorís terms so I canít describe what he looks like or what he is. I know that when I get out there ó whatever he asks me to do ó Iím going to be ready to do it and Iím going to try to do it to the best of my abilities and do what I can.
In looking at the number of the No. 3 receiver here in New England and the catches that youíve received. The No. 3 receiver in New England can see the ball upwards of 30, 40, 50 times. Does that excite you a little bit?
Lewis: As a receiver, any time you have the opportunity to get the ball in your hands and do things with it, youíre excited about that. If I get the opportunity, Iím going to do the best that I can with it whether thatís 50 times a year, or 10 times a year. The numbers donít matter; itís about what I did to help the team get wins. Thatís what Iím all about and thatís what this organization has been built on and it seems like that is what theyíre all about. So I think Iíd be a perfect fit.
Iím curious to ask a little bit about your history. You were a walk-on in college and then you were an undrafted free agent entering the NFL. Going back to your college experience.
Lewis: My high school wasnít really good at football so nobody really came to our games from colleges. Nobody from my school had gone anywhere for football, except for Tai Streets and he transferred when he was a junior and went to another school as a senior. I didnít run track and that seems like a prerequisite to getting a scholarship. You had to be a track athlete that was a receiver or a quarterback. You had to be fast. Nobody really thought I was fast coming out of high school. I decided to just go to Illinois with my cousin who was a quarterback. We always wanted to play together on the same team and that was the opportunity for us.
How hard was it to walk on to the team?
Lewis: I was a preferred walk-on, rather than just a walk-on that was already in school. They knew about me, but they just couldnít give me a scholarship. They knew about me and when I got there it was a little overwhelming for me, but in the end it turned out the way that I would have expected it. I ended up in the record books there so it was pretty cool.
After that, going undrafted, were you expecting to get drafted? How did that unfold?
Lewis: I was expecting the seventh round or not to get drafted at all. I wasnít invited to the combine so all I really had was my pro day for anybody to come see me. I trained with Don Beebe in Illinois and he gave me some good tools to decrease my 40 time and make it faster. I guess I over surmised out there at the pro day and a few teams called my agent and he decided that he thought Philadelphia would be the best opportunity for me to make a team.
The point that Iím trying to make I guess is that youíre a survivor, in terms of not letting the odds work against you. Have those experiences motivate you over your pro career?
Lewis: In some ways, it does, to prove that I belong. I just have an inner drive that I want to be the best and I want to compete and I want to win at all times so thatís really my drive and motivation to just get out there and try to be the best at what I do. Thatís pretty driven me to where I am now in Foxborough.
Have you had a chance to actually catch a pass from Tom Brady yet? Or are you not at that stage of workouts?
Lewis: I donít know how things go around here. All I did was come in and lift today and saw him in the locker room. This was day one.
I noticed that you were a chess player when you were kid. Do you still play today?
Lewis: I enjoy playing chess. They had a chess day when I was in Philadelphia for kids and they would come from around the city. I would attend that and play against some of the better chess players in Philadelphia. They had a school, the Masterman School -- that was a real high-end school, so to speak -- and I went to the school and played against a couple of the kids. They beat me. But I still play all the time. I enjoy it. I consider myself cerebral. I like to think and that excites me.