Who doesn’t love a story of the veteran player finally winning a championship? The Green Bay Packers last two Super Bowl victories both put rings on the long-waiting fingers of some of the best to wear a Packers uniform. Super Bowl XXXI we saw Reggie White take over the game to finally hoist the Lombardi after 12 seasons. Super Bowl XLV made Charles Woodson a champion after 13 seasons and Donald Driver a champion after 12. This year we see Marcedes Lewis entering his 17th season in the NFL. He’s waited long enough, it’s time to get the Big Dog a ring.
Drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars 28th overall in the 2006 draft, Lewis might have thought he was joining a team on the rise. The Jaguars had just finished the 2005/2006 season with a 12-4 record, they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, but seemed to have some promise. They finished 8-8 in Lewis’ first season, missing the playoffs, but went 11-5 in the following 2007 season, exiting the playoffs in the divisional round. Unfortunately, it would take 10 years for Lewis to return to the playoffs with Jacksonville as they came within one game of the Super Bowl, losing in the Conference Championship. In the seasons in between, Lewis had to endure a combined Jaguars record of 42-102, as Jacksonville continued to keep a mostly mediocre reputation. In 2018, Marcedes Lewis was cut by the Jaguars and later signed with the Packers.
Suddenly Lewis had gone from a Franchise which was always scraping the bottom of the barrel with the Jaguars, to one of the most respected Franchises in all of sports, the Packers. With Jimmy Graham and Lance Kendricks on the team already, Lewis was slated to be mainly a blocking tight end, but perhaps a surprise receiving threat. Lewis’ first season with the Packers was rocky as they coasted to a 6-9-1 record with former Head Coach Mike McCarthy fired mid-way through the season. But it was noticeable that Lewis was shining as a valuable blocker. Enter Head Coach Matt LaFleur as well as Offensive Coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who Lewis was familiar with during his career in Jacksonville, and the Packers winning ways ramped up again. The Packers reached the Conference Championship twice in the next three seasons under LaFleur, but never made it to the Super Bowl. That’s three Conference Championship appearances without a shot at a ring and it has left the Big Dog hungry.
There are only two players on the Packers that share Marcedes Lewis’ years of experience. Aaron Rodgers entering his 18th year, and Mason Crosby entering his 16th. Both of those guys, have rings from Super Bowl XLV. They may have had their fair share of Conference Championship woes like Lewis, but those players still got there and won. Lewis might not be the marquee player everyone thinks of as the Packers take the field on Sundays, but the respect he has earned in the locker room makes him one of the team’s best. Instead of catching the long 60-yard touchdown, you’re more likely to see Lewis helping out in pass protection or paving the way for the rushing attack. It’s no longer about the stat sheet, it’s about winning.
His selfless attitude has not gone unnoticed by his teammates. Lewis may not be loud or flashy, but when he has something to say, the locker room stops and listens. This year, it’s time to win one for the Big Dog.
Greg Meinholz is a 24/7/365 Packers fan. When he’s not spending time with his family, he can be found meditating in his Packers shrine with a good beer. You can follow him on twitter at @gmeinholz.