Rumors the Browns would release 30-year-old Jamal Lewis to help them get to the magic final roster number of 53 players spread last week as rosters were being reduced around the league.
Far from being released, Lewis will be the starting running back when the Browns open the season Sunday at home against the Minnesota Vikings. Lewis hit the magic age of 30 the last week of August. He is eager to prove those who think he is finished wrong.
"Turning 30 is what everybody's been talking about," Lewis said. "Now I'm actually 30 – not 29 or 28. I'm actually 30.
"I've been answering (age) questions for five years. I'm still kicking, still out here running and competing and doing my job and trying to help this team. One of my goals was to play for 10 years and here I am."
Running backs like Lewis say they get better as the game wears on. Even at 30 years old, Lewis is talking about 25 or 30 carries a game. Last year he carried 25 times only once. He exceeded 25 carries three times in 2007 with a high of 33. That year he had 298 rushes for 1,304 yards, the most by a Browns runner since Jim Brown rushed for 1,554 yards in 1965. In 2003 Lewis carried 387 times when he rushed for 2,066 yards with the Ravens.
Lewis has carried the ball 2,399 times over a career that began in Baltimore in 2000, the year the Ravens won the Super Bowl. He missed all of 2001 with a knee injury, so over eight active seasons he has averaged 300 carries.
"Offenses have evolved," Lewis said. "We have an offense where we don't really have to do that. Being I'm smarter and wiser now, whatever I can get I try to make the best happen with those opportunities.
"I think coaches do have in mind how many carries they want their back to get over a season because they don't want to break them down."
Lewis rushed for 1,002 yards last season and then had offseason ankle surgery. He rehabbed slowly through the minicamps so he would be ready for training camp.
Rookie James Davis, 5-foot-11, 218 pounds, is a tantalizing change of pace to Lewis. Lewis, 5-11, 245 pounds, has been helping Davis in training camp. They are both from Atlanta and coincidentally both went to Frederick Douglass High School there. They worked out together after the Browns drafted Davis in the sixth round in April.
Favre at 40? What about Lewis at 30?
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