Jamal Not Backing Down From Retirement Talk

Jamal Lewis spoke earlier in the week about stepping away from the game. A couple of days later, he's not backing away from the retirement talk...

Losing – especially a lot -- can cause a fella to lose his head and say things he really doesn't mean, or at least doesn't want others to hear.

Remember former Browns general manager Philo Savage and that nasty little email he sent a fan following last year's victory over the Buffalo Bills?


But don't count Browns running back Jamal Lewis among those people.

Following last Sunday's 30-6 loss to the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in which the offense of the 1-7 Browns continued to go south faster than the migrating birds this time of year, Lewis said he was going to retire. That was not uttered out of frustration. He meant it, and he reiterated that before practice on Wednesday.

"Like I said, I don't talk just to talk," he said. "I mean what I say. I'll leave it at that."

He also said that the struggles of this season did not cause his decision. He went into the year with his mind made up.

"My whole decision was based on my businesses and what I have going on outside of football and things that I want to be able to give 100 percent to," Lewis said. "I can't do that right now because I'm here. I've got to give 100 percent to this."

So that's it. Lewis is done once the final gun sounds on Jan. 3 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in the season finale against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It will be the end of an era in the AFC North.

Playing his first seven years with the Baltimore Ravens and the last three with the Browns, Lewis has 10,456 career yards and stands 21st on the NFL's all-time rushing list after passing Tiki Barber (10,449) and ex-Ohio Stater Eddie George (10,441) with his 69 yards against the Bears. He now has a team-leading 349 yards on the year after going over 1,000 yards the previous two seasons and, before he's through, will likely pass Ricky Waters (10,643) and possibly even Warrick Dunn (10,967).

If so, then he would be 19th, right behind Pro Football Hall of Famer O.J. Simpson (11.236).

"I'm not a big numbers guy," Lewis said. "My agent is, so, of course, every time I've done something over the last 10 years, he's been the one to call me or text me and say, 'You've done this,' and I'll say, "Great,' and then just keep it moving."

Toward the Hall of Fame, maybe?

"I don't think about the Hall of Fame," he said. "The Hall of Fame is what it is. There's are some people who are not in the Hall of Fame but should be.

"I don't know what it actually takes to get in. I guess it takes a bunch of numbers and probably longevity and everything else that accounts for that. If I make it or have a shot to make it, it doesn't really matter to me.

"Ill be fine as long as I can leave this game healthy and with the numbers I have and the stats that I have and the things that I've done. I have a Super Bowl ring, and I'm happy."

That came in 2000 – his rookie season – in Baltimore. When the Ravens cut him following the 2006 season, he signed a one-year show-me contract with the Browns. He gained 1,304 yards, the most in team history for someone not named Jim Brown, in 2007 and the Browns went 10-6 and nearly made the playoffs, after which he signed a three-year extension. The last two seasons have been disasters, though, with the Browns going a combined 5-19.

Despite that, Lewis said he doesn't regret coming to Cleveland. But even if he did, does it matter now? It's all said and done. There are just eight games left for him.

Just like he wanted to do when he came into the league as a first-round draft choice of the Ravens out of Tennessee, and just like the great Jim Brown did when he retired at age 29 in 1965, the 30-year-old Lewis is getting to go out on his own terms.

"I want to go out fighting, winning and to just know that when I'm sitting at home next year, I will be able to see this team start off where we left off, and hopefully, that's winning," Lewis said. "I want to be remembered as a hard worker. That's it, a hard worker. I brought my hard hat every time I stepped on the field."

And he meant every word of that.

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