Seahawks rookie guard Damien Lewis ready to ‘maul guys’ in run and pass
“I just froze.”
Damien Lewis, starting guard for LSU’s 2019 championship team, had just received a call from Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider. It was Friday – the second day of the 2020 NFL Draft – and the Seahawks were preparing to select Lewis 69th overall.
“When I first saw the number come up, it had a WA,” Lewis said. First, there was the call from Schneider, then Carroll called to ask how Lewis felt about coming to Seattle.
“I just froze,” Lewis continued in an interview with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Tom, Jake and Stacy. “That moment right there, everything just froze, everything just stopped. My mom, she was crying, she was tapping on me. So I just zoom out; thought about where I come from.”
"Come on up and be a Seattle Seahawk!"
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) April 30, 2020
Lewis’ road to the NFL is all the more impressive considering where he started: Lewis had zero offers coming out of high school and, with his options limited, opted for the junior college route to continue his football career.
Lewis enrolled at Northwest Mississippi Community College and quickly became one of the nation’s top-ranked JUCO linemen. By the end of 2017, Lewis had 10 offers to Division-I programs, including LSU, Colorado, Utah, Ole Miss, and West Virginia. He ultimately committed to LSU and became a two-year starter at right guard for the Tigers from 2018-19. In addition to helping the Tigers (and eventual No. 1 pick Joe Burrow) to a national championship in 2019, Lewis and the rest of LSU’s offensive line honored with the Joe Moore Award.
The starting job at right guard for the Seahawks is up for grabs following the team’s release of D.J. Fluker (now with Baltimore) but even before the announcement, Carroll made it clear Lewis would be in the mix to start right away.
“He won’t take a backseat to anybody,” Carroll told reporters a few hours after he and Schneider selected Lewis. “He’s going to come in here and battle for it.”
Even without Fluker in the fold, it’s clear Lewis is ready to compete – and he’s got a pretty good shot. Praised for his run blocking in particular, he’s more powerful than his 6-foot-2 length would suggest.
LSU RG Damien Lewis (6-3/335) is a tank on the interior that's big, strong, and nasty. Really good run-blocker, stout anchor, and great finisher. Reminds me a lot of Gabe Jackson coming out. pic.twitter.com/bxmzbCVZHB
— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) December 15, 2019
That’s not to mention his mentality, which should fit right in on Carroll’s offense.
“I’m just a mean, tough and nasty guy who can do it all,” Lewis said. “Maul guys in the run, maul guys in the pass, just come in and just lay it out every play, every snap, just gonna give it my all.”
Following the call from Seattle’s head coach and general manager, Lewis received another call, this one from quarterback Russell Wilson. Wilson told Lewis he was excited for him, and that he should come prepared to compete – it’s a work thing, he said, no days off.
It’s got to be a shock for a college player to receive a call from one of the league’s most recognized players, but – no offense to Wilson – it’s that first call that might stick with Lewis forever.
“That right there really just something that I’ll never forget, that phone call,” Lewis said. “Just really laid on my heart. Coach Pete told me he wanted me to come to play and I told him I’d give it my all. From day one to come up there and earn everything; I don’t want nothing given to me. Come up there and compete … I’m a winner. This is what I do, I love to win. And I’m gonna come in, bring the same thing: mean, tough and nasty.”
Listen to the full interview in the player below.