Lavey, Lewis To Leave Lasting Legacy

In the early days of the American Football League, the Kansas City Chiefs were aggressive about bringing in African-American athletes, many from traditional black colleges and universities. The Chief brought together two linebackers, one white (Jim Lynch) and one black (Willie Lanier), that became known as "salt and pepper." Oklahoma State has its own standouts in Caleb Lavey and Shaun Lewis.

The two OSU seniors could be considered the Cowboys version of salt and pepper. Back in those AFL days, and the same in the NFL and college for that matter, race was much more noticed and discussed. Thankfully, that is not the case anymore and you can see it with these collegians now. It's nice when you can be around players and sense that the color of one's skin is not a factor and isn't noticed and considered by the other.

You get that feeling that Lavey and Lewis have become more than teammates in how they relate to each other, they are like brothers both on and off the field.

Lavey came from smaller Texas community and football dynasty Celina having been featured in the Kenny Chesney video on football, "The Boys of Fall." Lewis was just as much a boy of fall playing for Fort Bend Hightower, a suburb of big city Houston, in a stellar career that took him to a state championship game.

Now four years later, which have included a Big 12 championship and BCS bowl win, another near Big 12 title run, multiple honors, and now for Lewis being a finalist for the FCA sponsored Bowden Award, the pair prepare to play their final game for the Cowboys.

"Last year at the Heart of Dallas Bowl I had to find 26 tickets, so this year with this bowl being a little bit bigger, I'll probably have to find more than that. I'm really excited to have the opportunity to play in front of my family, play with these guys one more time and end my career on a good note," Lewis said Oklahoma State's meeting with Missouri in the AT&T Cotton Bowl on Jan. 3.

"It's going to be special because we're going to be able to bring our families in. It's not too bad of a drive. Most of my family will be there," Lavey added. "We have a lot of OSU alumni and students from the area so we'll be able to bring a lot of orange out, which is good. There will be plenty of noise for the Cowboys out there."

Over the past four years, Lewis and Lavey haven't agreed on everything but they have agreed on much. They have been on the same page when their position coach Glenn Spencer has brought in concepts in changing the defensive personality of the Cowboys. This duo has been a major part of the transition. Both look at Spencer as a valuable teacher and role model on and off the field.

The pair have learned to put the best for the group over the best for the individual. But on Friday night, Jan. 3, those two will attempt to walk off the field at AT&T Cowboys Stadium with a win for themselves and the seniors they have bonded with for the last four years.

"I really just want to win for these seniors," Lavey said. "I want to get this bad taste out of my mouth after Bedlam. We want to end the season with a win, especially against an SEC team. They're a great team with a lot of weapons. They nearly went to the national championship. Being able to wrap it up in Dallas with a win would be the perfect way to end my career."

"It's very important," Lewis chimed in. "When you talk about leaving a legacy that you're satisfied with, you always want to go out with a win. This might be my last time playing football, so I definitely want to go out on the good side."

The good side is hard to find sometimes on the Cowboys defense. It is truly like "salt and pepper" in that Lewis and Lavey go together.

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