NFL roster decisions, much like time, wait for nobody. This offseason, the Detroit Lions had a need for difference makers at defensive end, so they drafted Ziggy Ansah and Devin Taylor while signing veterans Jason Jones and Israel Idonije, somewhat ignoring what they already had on the roster.
Where does that leave a borderline player like Ronnell Lewis, who was once a fourth round draft pick? In limbo, apparently, especially after Lewis failed to respond well to Detroit's preliminary conditioning test. Lewis, as well, is coming off an offseason run in with the law in Oklahoma. He's since settled up with that, but knowing the competition and names in front of him at his postilion, the deck is clearly stacked against him from the beginning.
Lewis has found out, in a hurry, that nothing is guaranteed in the NFL. After a tough start to his career, now, he's suddenly on the roster bubble completely. For the Lions, this is fine. Competition should be the name of the game, especially this season. Lewis, like other members of the Lions who have faced down personal problems and on-field struggles, now must show he's serious in order to get back on the field and earn his spot.
At this point, the Lions owe him nothing, regardless of where he was drafted or how much they'd like to reward him for being a good soldier and waiting out last season playing on special teams. Now, for Lewis, commitment will be key toward reclaiming his spot. Martin Mayhew has created the perfect situation this training camp, where on the bubble players literally have to play their way onto the roster and earn their keep.
During this season, there is no better personification of this fact than Lewis, who represents the choice many young players have this time of year. Either they get back on the field in camp, earn their spot and have a chance to make a difference, or they don't and get slashed from the roster, left to lament a missed opportunity.
If Lewis wants the chance to play full time in the NFL bad enough, he'll need to show up on the field in a big way sooner rather than later this August.
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