When Andy Reid became the head coach in Philadelphia one of his first moves was to bring in a former Eagle. Chad Lewis had spent two seasons in Philadelphia, under former coach Ray Rhodes, before signing with the St. Louis Rams in 1999. When Reid gained control of the franchise, he saw promise in Lewis and decided to bring him aboard, and he didn't disappoint.
Ever since donning an Eagles uniform, Lewis has blossomed into a leader in the locker room, and a great ambassador for the team. He has made trips overseas to represent the NFL and the Eagles, to promote the league and the game of football itself. Lewis will be counted upon to groom L.J. Smith into a solid tight end, and with the numbers he's posted in his career, there aren't many out there who could do a better job.
In 1999 Lewis spent the final six games of the season on the Eagles roster and recorded seven receptions, three of which were touchdowns, and a total of 76 yards. Not bad for a player who was claimed off waivers. His next two seasons however, are what gave Lewis the reputation he has today. In 2000 and 2001 Lewis tallied 111 receptions and 1,157 yards and nine touchdowns combined. Those are pretty impressive numbers, and they led Lewis to two consecutive Pro-Bowl appearances.
As impressive as Lewis was in 2000 and 2001, he was as disappointing in 2002. He seemed to disappear from the offense, and when he got opportunities he faltered and was not the weapon that he once was. Last season he recorded 42 receptions for 398 yards and three touchdowns. Sure those numbers look impressive, but he just did not appear to be the game-breaking tight end that he once was.
Chad Lewis is still a viable option in this offense. However, with Smith on the roster; Donovan McNabb will have a more versatile corpse of tight ends to work with. The West-Coast offense is centered around the tight end position, and the Eagles finally have two that can get the job done. Lewis is the starter, for now, but look for many two tight end sets throughout the season, to make the transition from Lewis to Smith, a little bit smoother. Make no mistake, Lewis will get plenty of touches this year, as always, but if he falters, then Smith will be right there to step in.