In professional sports what goes on in a team’s locker room, and behind closed doors, can almost be as important as what happens out on the field. A hostile locker room environment can be detrimental to a team and is a big reason why teams try so hard to figure out what players are truly like before signing them.
They don’t want to bring in players that think only of themselves and create tension among their teammates. They would rather bring in players who think selflessly and put their teammates first.
The Minnesota Vikings have been trying to build that type of team since Mike Zimmer took over as head coach and it appears they are continuing to move in the right direction. One of the free agents that they have already signed this offseason is linebacker Travis Lewis and he proved to be a class act on Thursday.
Lewis spent the first four years of his career with the Detroit Lions, but decided to move in a different direction this offseason. Even though he signed with one of the Lions’ division rivals he wanted to make sure everyone in that organization knew how thankful he was for what they did for him and his career.
He released the following statement on Twitter:
“I want to take this time and thank the Lions organization for the (four) amazing years they gave me! Giving this young man a chance to grow and live my childhood dream of playing in the NFL! I want to thank the Ford family, coach Jim Schwartz and Martin Mayhew for giving me (a) chance and drafting me in 2012, coach Jim Caldwell for believing in me when he arrived, but most importantly the fans for treating me like family! I will forever be grateful!”
Lewis was not required to release a statement like this and it really speaks to what kind of person he is.
He is not expected to be a starter once the regular season rolls around, but having that kind of character inside the locker room can do wonders for a team. These are the kinds of personalities that teams look for because they are the ones who will put the team first and do anything that’s asked of them.