The Pittsburgh Steelers are bringing recently released veteran cornerback Keenan Lewis in for a free agent visit Tuesday evening and prior to that happening he was interviewed on SiriusXM Radio.
Lewis, who was officially released on Monday by the New Orleans Saints, first talked about what it’s like to all of a sudden be a free agent once again.
“It’s kind of crazy being a free agent, it’s something that I’m new to obviously,” said Lewis. “I played for Pittsburgh during my first four years and New Orleans for three years and just to have this free agent moment where I’m trying to find the best situation that I can succeed in is very complicated.
“But Pittsburgh is a place that I played at. I’m familiar with the area. Great fans, great coaching staff, great owner. So I plan on going up there to see what they have to offer and if the situation’s best for me, then I’ll have to make a decision.”
Lewis also admitted Tuesday that the Steelers aren’t the only team that’s interested in talking to him. Additionally, he said he could see himself playing for the Arizona Cardinals as he has a great relationship with their head coach Bruce Arians, who was previously the Steelers offensive coordinator.
“But I also I got a couple of other teams who I’ve been talking to as well and it sounds pretty good, like they’re interested and I’m just going to try to make the best decision for me and my family,” said Lewis.
Lewis was also asked about his current health and past reports that indicated he’s dealt with other injuries besides his reported hip issue that has prevented him from practicing recently with the Saints.
“Some of the reports that you hear like the MCL tears, I never had those problems, so I just have to tell a lot of teams to don’t believe everything until you bring me up,” Lewis said.
So what about that hip issue and will it prevent him from being ready to play by the start of the 2016 regular season?
“I’m taking it day-by-day,” said Lewis. “I’ll let the coaches and the trainers decide. I’ve been going day-by-day; I think I’m very close. A lot of people are thinking this guy will never heal up and things like that but I had a minor setback. Actually, when people was concerned about my hip, I’m fine, my hips don’t hurt. I was actually working out with one of the trainers and slid on a towel and had a strain in my psoas muscle, so that’s the only problem that I’m dealing with now. Just trying to get that strength back. I don’t have any tears, I don’t have no hip issues and the things that they’re mentioning. So I’m just trying to get my strength back in that area and once that gets back well and I’ll be ready to go.”
Lewis, as you can imagine, spoke highly of the Steelers in addition to defensive coordinator Keith Butler, who was the team’s linebackers coach when he was with the team previously.
“I think that’s a great organization,” said Lewis. “Like I said, even with Coach Keith [Butler], that was guy when I was in Pittsburgh, a phenomenal coach, just to have him take Coach LeBeau’s spot, I don’t think there’s never a drop-off and even the young guys that they brought in now, those guys, they’re getting better every year and I see the improvement every year even with the older guys leaving.”
Lewis also talked further about what will go into his decision making process as it relates to who he’ll ultimately sign with.
“I just sit down and I play off my strengths, what I’m strong at doing and also my weaknesses, and I try to plug myself into that position,” said Lewis. “Different defensive schemes that these different teams run and what would be best for my style of play.
“And also, especially having a defensive coordinator that you can ride with and get along with. It didn’t make it that much easier, especially an older guy like myself going on to year-eight, played a lot of ball in this league and to just have that chemistry that I need with the coaches and my teammates to succeed, and also to help win a Super Bowl is very important and that’s something I want to cherish and not to be treated like a first or second year guy, because I’m not.”
As for the actual possibility of him signing with the Steelers, Lewis sounds like he’s open to whatever role they need him to play.
“I’m just going to do whatever Coach [Mike] Tomlin and the staff ask of me,” he said.