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Terrell Lewis is tired of being overlooked because of his knee

August 04, 2022 11:04AM
[theramswire.usatoday.com] Terrell Lewis is tired of being overlooked because of his knee

Cameron DaSilva
August 4, 2022 12:17 pm PT

Since the moment Terrell Lewis was drafted by the Rams in the third round in 2020, he’s been labeled as a high-risk player due to his injury history in college. Those injury concerns are a big reason he was even available to the Rams at No. 84 overall because there were no questions about his potential as a supremely athletic 6-foot-5 edge rusher.

Unfortunately, Lewis hasn’t been able to shed that injury-prone label in his first two seasons. He’s played just 19 games, missing time due to a knee injury and also as a healthy scratch in 2021.

All that has added up to a massive chip on Lewis’ shoulder, one he’s using as motivation to hopefully propel himself to a breakout season in 2022.

“I feel like a lot of times, people have overlooked me off the stress of my health and things like that,” Lewis said Wednesday. “I feel like me and the people that watch me closely, if you watch me every time that I step on the field, you can tell that I have an impact when I’m on the field or you feel my presence in some way. I have a huge chip on my shoulder, but it’s not really to prove myself to anybody else other than me just to prove myself right. Like, ‘You say all this about yourself. If this how you feel, show it. Show it every day.’”

Lewis was unable to take advantage of his opportunity last year next to Leonard Floyd when the Rams were searching for a starter before Von Miller arrived in November. But there have certainly been flashes of his potential. He had a sack in three straight games in October, which propelled him into a starting role from Week 7-9. But after that, his snaps decreased and he was ruled out in Week 13 due to a knee injury.

It was a frustrating time for Lewis, whose knee appeared to be improving last season before the setback – and eventually, Miller’s arrival. Mentally, Lewis tried to remain positive and focus on football rather than what people are saying about his health and his knee.

“Hell yeah. I told him just now, like, ‘Man, I’m not trying to sit up here and just talk about my knee all day.’ Honestly, I feel like the mental things, just dealing with it on a daily and then even last year, I felt like I definitely overcame the whole knee obstacles and everything that people talk about,” Lewis said. “Then it’s like, I know I went through a stretch of just not being out there, just still being healthy, but not being out there to the point where it’s like, people would just assume, ‘Oh, it must be his knee.’ So, like certain things like that mentally, it would bother me. But I feel like I’ve gotten to a better head space to the point where I don’t let external factors control how I feel. I know who I am. I know how my body feels. If you’re out here, I’m pretty sure everybody will tell you, ‘Terrell looks like Terrell. He looks like the guy that we want out here’. I try not to think about the whole, ‘Oh, how’s your knee feeling?’”

He doesn’t want to be a player known for injuries, and through two seasons, he’s struggled to disprove that narrative. But he certainly progressed toward getting past that stigma until the Rams made him a healthy scratch down the stretch.

“I know at the end of the day, a lot of people from the outside looking in, that’s what they think about,” he said. “As soon as they see me, they hear about the knee, they think, ‘Oh, OK, knee issues, health issues.’ Things like that. I feel like once I got over the hump of not trying to please everybody else and more so just like each day I know what I have to deal with, with my body. I know how to take care of it.”

(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Being a healthy scratch was a different type of frustration for Lewis. Knowing he was healthy, it was painful to sit on the sidelines and not be able to playing during the Super Bowl run. But he learned from that experience and is coming back motivated.

It was just the first time he’d been held out of a game for something other than injury.

“It was frustrating. I feel like I learned a lot from that whole situation,” he continued. “I feel like that’s another reason why I feel like I have that kind of chip on my shoulder every day. Obviously with me, my biggest goal lately has just been, I want to play in a Super Bowl. So that kind of bothered me a lot. Mentally, it took me a while to get over it and say, like, ‘OK, what can you learn from that? What can you gain from the experience of not only just learning from a player like Von, but also learning just the business and how things go about throughout a season?’ Sometimes you may just have to be that odd man out depending on situations, but it definitely felt weird. I’ve never been out of a game other than health. It just felt like, now that I’m healthy, why the hell am I not playing?”

With Miller now a member of the Bills, the door is open once again for Lewis to be a starting edge rusher for the Rams. He’ll be competing with Justin Hollins for that role opposite Floyd, and the early reviews from training camp are positive.

Floyd has seen a more confident and healthy version of Lewis this year, saying he’s “real fluid right now.”

“I can tell he trusting (his knee) a lot more than he did last year,” Floyd said, adding that Lewis has had “some of his best rushes in training camp.”

It’s all set up for Lewis. He just has to capitalize on the potential he knows he possesses.

  Terrell Lewis is tired of being overlooked because of his knee

BerendsenRam291August 04, 2022 11:04AM