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Lewis: Starting 'would be wonderful'

Posted Dec 27, 2012

Cleveland quarterback Thaddeus Lewis took the first-team repetitions during Wednesday’s practice.

Second-year Cleveland Browns quarterback Thaddeus Lewis began the week on the practice squad, but by Monday night, he was on the active roster.

Lewis took the first-team repetitions with the offense during Wednesday’s practice as first-year starter Brandon Weeden and veteran reserve Colt McCoy continued to recover from right shoulder injuries suffered in last Sunday’s loss at the Denver Broncos.

Lewis, who played with the St. Louis Rams before joining the Browns, has not made a regular-season start since being signed as a free agent after the 2010 NFL Draft. He last started a game on Duke University’s Senior Day against Wake Forest.

“If I get the start, it would be wonderful,” Lewis said. “I’d be living out a childhood dream. Right now, I’m just taking it all in, enjoying it while I can in practice, taking the reps. If my number does get called, it will be amazing.

“To be on the practice squad and then, take reps with the ones, it’s a good thing. Sometimes, your number gets called. My number was called this time and hopefully, I do get the opportunity to play. Until then, I’m going to do what the coaches ask me to do. Right now, my job is to take reps with the ones. Last week, it was to do whatever the coaches needed me to do.”

Should Lewis make his first career start in the NFL, it will be against the Pittsburgh Steelers’ top-ranked total and pass defenses in front of more than 65,000 fans, most of whom will be dressed in black and gold. The Steelers have allowed 272.9 yards per game, 185.4 from the passing game. Pittsburgh’s pass rush has generated 33 sacks for 174 lost yards.

Defensively, the Steelers have registered seven fumble recoveries and nine interceptions.

“Any guy that likes football would love the opportunity to play, no matter where,” Lewis said. “You’re going to take the atmosphere in and once you get out there, they’re just guys in front of you, guys that you’ve seen and admired, but you actually get to play against them. It’s not time to be a fan; it’s time to be a player.

“I would say I’ll be nervous when you first get out there, but when that ball is snapped, it’s time to play. Once the lights are on, it’s time to go. It’s always an opportunity. In this league, you have to take advantage of those opportunities. If this is my one opportunity, I have to make sure I’m ready and prepare myself and give it my all.”

During this year’s preseason, Lewis completed nine of 17 attempts for 146 yards with an interception. In a 19-17 win at Detroit in the preseason opener, Lewis engineered an 11-play, 75-yard drive that running back Adonis Thomas capped off with a three-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

With the Browns down by a point after a failed two-point conversion attempt, the defense forced a punt and gave the ball back to Lewis. He led the team on a six-play drive that resulted in Jeff Wolfert’s eventual game-winning 45-yard field goal.

In his two preseasons with the Rams, Lewis completed 45 of 60 attempts for 521 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

“The quarterback always has to be a playmaker,” Lewis said. “If I have to use my legs, then, I’ll have to use my legs. As a quarterback, you want to throw the ball and get the ball into the playmakers’ hands and let them do what they do.”