These days, it seems that everyone has an opinion on Roger Goodell and the NFL, so why not ask for the opinion of one of the greatest running backs of his generation? That would be none other than Jamal Lewis, who, like it or not, has been following all of the drama as it develops.
“I look at it and I kind of follow it a little bit,” Lewis said on The MoJo Show. “You can’t help but watch it. It’s just the nature of big business. It’s the nature of big business. Sometimes in big business, you do business a certain way for so long and you get comfortable. And at the same time, things happen. I think that’s where this whole thing got blown up – with the Ray Rice situation (and) the Adrian Peterson situation. I think with the NFL having the brand that it has, it’s almost like everybody else is looking at it as if, ‘Wow, I can’t believe you guys did that.’ But these guys in the NFL, it’s an organization. They try to do business the best way possible, but sometimes you’re going to have some hiccups. I think that’s where we are right now.”
While many people are calling for Goodell’s head and predicting that the league could lose a large chunk of its fan base – 45 percent of which is female – Lewis isn’t going to those extremes.
“I think the NFL, they’ll get over it,” he said. “I texted (Ravens owner Steve) Bisciotti the other day and told him to hang in there. I’ve been through my own issues before, and the Ravens stood behind me and the NFL stood behind me, (and I) didn’t get in any more trouble (or have) any problems since.
“At the same time, I think it’s just a tough time right now,” Rice continued. “But just like every game, sometimes you can be down but you just got to keep on playing. And that’s it.”
It’s hard to believe, but Lewis, 35, has been retired for five years. He played nine seasons in the NFL – six for the Ravens, three for the Cleveland Browns – and rushed for 10,607 yards and 58 touchdowns. He also had 221 receptions for 1,879 yards and four touchdowns.
Lewis, who led the Ravens to the Super Bowl in 2000 and rushed for 2,066 yards in 2003, is amazed at how different the league is now – even compared to his last season in 2009.
“The league has changed a lot,” he said. “Just the culture and everything else in the league has changed. Plays, it’s just different. The dynamics are just different. It’s becoming more commercial. These guys are getting a lot of visibility and everything else. It’s just different.
“I watch it,” Lewis continued. “I watch football games every weekend. That’s what I look for – just to see how things have changed and how things have evolved over the years. It’s still a good league. Competition is there, and it’s just getting better.”