Big day here on BGN as we welcome former Eagles' tight end Chad Lewis, who has written a new book called "Surround Yourself With Greatness." In the book Chad talks about his life and career, shares some great behind the scenes stories about some of our most memorable Eagles moments, and talks about the people in his life that have inspired him to succeed. People like Steve Young, Donovan McNabb, Andy Reid, & John Gruden to name a few.
Chad's book is on sale now through Amazon and other sites. Without further ado, let's get into it.
BGN - First off, I'd just like to thank for you taking the time to answer some questions and talk some football. I know everyone in our Eagles community here is excited to hear from you. That leads me to my first question. In a town where fans are know to have complicated relationships with their sports stars at times, I've always been amazed at how universally liked you always were and still are to this day. What do you attribute your special relationship with Eagles fan to?
Chad Lewis - The Eagles fans love a person who is willing to work hard. They understand the game and know when athletes play with their whole heart and soul. I know I gave it everything I had in my career with the Eagles. I was not a first round draft pick, but I never worried about that. The only thing I wanted to do was give it all I had. I knew I was representing my family and my team every time I took the field. That was important to me. Plus, I was born in Ft. Dix New Jersey the same year the Vet was being built and I had a strong affinity to Philly. I also had three of my children born there. It is my home.
You were undrafted, you were cut from a few teams before joining the Eagles, then you go on to make three pro bowls and have a great career in Philadelphia. Do you consider yourself an "overachiever?"
I consider my success a result of being surrounded by greatness. From Andy Reid bringing me back to Philly, Donovan being the greatest teammate a guy could ask for, a whole host of great teammates and coaches, an awesome owner…l felt like I had to succeed because I was in the best place, on the best team in the league. I loved the strong team chemistry that we had the whole time I was an Eagle. Overachiever doesn’t mean anything to me. I have always felt that if you work as hard as you can, play with emotion, love the guys you are with, that good and great things will happen.
Read the rest of the interview after the jump
The title of your book is "surround Yourself With Greatness" and in you talk specifically about Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb. Tell us a just a bit about how those guys have helped to inspire you.
The ways are too many to even name in my book. I tried to give people a perspective of what those two are like behind closed doors. If people only know how hard working, how funny, how great they both are, they would have the exact same feeling that I do. Their work is a testament to their greatness. Look at how successful they have been the last 10 years. It is amazing. I am so proud to know them and to be their friends. I loved playing for Andy and with Donovan. They are just the beginning. I could easily write another book about how great the guys on my team were. I would love to have the chance to let people know more of the great stories that happened in our locker room.
For me, and a lot of Eagles fans, one of the real tragedies of that great Eagles era between 2000 and 2004 was when you broke your foot in the NFC title game and couldn't play in the superbowl that year. How did you handle that?
I try and describe it in the book. It was definitely a challenge not to play with my teammates in the Super Bowl. That had been my dream since as long as I can remember. My family was at the game. My wife, parents, brothers, and a whole big group. They struggled to know that I would not be playing as well. It was tough. We prayed and tried to find comfort in the faith we have in God. We know things happen for a reason, and by placing my faith in Him, I was able to find a measure of peace that I can only describe as divine. I am so grateful for my blessings. I have nothing to complain or cry about.
I believe your book had been completed before Jim Johnson passed away this year. Do you have any thoughts on Johnson that you'd like to share?
Jim is one of the great guys in my career. He was a no nonsense coach and person in every way. He was tough. I mean tough. He brought that toughness to our team every single day. He brought that toughness on the road, at practice, in games, everywhere. He was universally respected on our team, and that is a difficult thing in the NFL. He was honest. He never tip toed around something. He went straight to the heart of the problem. He was a warrior and a team leader. He was a quiet leader. He would bark like a general during games, but he was a quiet guy in meetings. He gave great deference to Andy. He was as loyal as they come. He asked me what I was going to do when I finished playing and I told him I thought about coaching. He told me that I must not love my family because coaching was so tough. I asked him if he were serious, and he said, he was. I loved his honesty and toughness. His wife is one of the classiest people you will ever meet. His family is awesome. They are a testament to what a great guy he was. His spirit lives on with the Eagles.
If you don't mind, I'd like to finish with a quick question about this current Eagles team. Tight end Brent Celek seems to be having himself a breakout year and I constantly hear people either comparing him to you or paying him the compliment of saying that he's "the best TE the Eagles have had since Chad Lewis... "What do you think of Celek and do you see any of your game in him?
Brent is the perfect Tight End for the Eagles. He has all the tools to be a great receiver for a very long time. He is strong, fast, and has great hands. Donovan is very comfortable throwing to him. I know Andy and the other coaches love him. He is a hard worker and does things the Philly way. He is a blue collar work horse and I am so excited to see how well he is playing and how much he helps the team. His future is bright. I loved it when he jumped over the dude the other day. That is the kind of emotion and effort that Eagles fans love to see.
Thanks again for your time here today and for all the effort and great memories you gave us as fans. We wish you best of luck with the book and I expect that more than a few Eagles fans might find it in their stockings this Christmas.
Update - Chad will be doing a few signings of his book around the area.
Friday, November 6
Barnes & Noble
911 Haddonfield Road
Cherry Hill, NJ 08002
Store number: 856-486-1492
Contact: Linda King, Events manager and Luis
Saturday, November 7
12 - 2:00p.m. - Signing
201 Allendale Rd.
King of Prussia, PA 19406
Contact: Warehouse Manager, Scott Riekers
80 E. Wynnewood Road
Wynnewood, PA 19096
Contact: Jo Snead (woman), Events