Packers veteran Tight End Marcedes Lewis has set his sights on a slice of NFL history as he heads into his 17th season as a pro.

We recently discussed how Tight End was a position the Packers must get right this season and described Lewis as a ‘rugged veteran’ who has ‘not shown any indication of wanting to retire’. It seems that’s an accurate description of the 38-year-old, who has recently decided he wants the record for the most seasons played by a Tight End. If he does, it means he needs not just one more season but two.

“This year, I’ll tie the record,” Lewis told NBC Sports. “It would be great to break it, and then I would consider, ‘OK, I’ve done that.’ Eighteen is kind of bizarre, especially at the tight end position.”

Only two Tight Ends have played 17 seasons; Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten. Gonzalez played for the Chiefs and Falcons and is the NFL leader in the Tight End receiving yards and receptions. Witten retired in 2017, three seasons short of tying the record, but came back for stints with the Cowboys and Raiders to take him to 17. He retired in 2021 and ranked second in all-time career receptions and receiving yards by an NFL tight end, behind Gonzalez.

If Lewis does make it to 18, it may be a fringe player for the Packers, who go into the offseason after losing the divisional playoff against the 49ers. Super Bowl XLV seems a long while ago, and coach Matt LaFleur will be hoping to continue the positive steps his team have taken since their two successive failures to make the playoffs in 2017 and 2018. They are favorites in the latest Ladbrokes NFL odds to win the NFC North, again, but are ranked behind the Bills, Buccs, Chiefs and Rams in the overall Super Bowl LVII picture. Settling on a Tight End will certainly help their cause.

Lewis may get his 17th and 18th season, but it is unlikely he’ll do so by starting many games. Robert Tonyan tore his ACL against the Arizona Cardinals last season, and despite being due back during the regular season, he’s unlikely to be effective until the season is well underway. That leaves Lewis, Josiah Deguara, Dominique Dafney and Tyler Davis. LaFleur has said that they ‘think they have something’ with Davis, which could mean he starts ahead of Lewis.

However many games Lewis plays in his 17th year, it is a remarkable achievement for the player and one he admits is sometimes tough to comprehend. “When you’re in Year 17, sometimes I wake up like, ‘Damn, I’m still doing this,'” Lewis said. “Obviously, a little longer in the tooth, but I love what I do.”

Originally drafted 28th overall pick in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft, he had 12 years with the Jacksonville Jaguars before being released in 2018. Two months after that, the Packers signed him to a one-year, $2.1 million contract with a $500,000 signing bonus. Two further one-year deals followed, before a two-year, $8 million contract was inked in March 2021.

If he makes the roster this year, that takes the UCLA alumni to 17 seasons, tying the record. The big question is this; will a final contract be earned this year, and can he break the record held by Gonzalez and Witten, placing himself in NFL history? Only time will tell.