He’s one of he few, recent University of Washington products to make the next step to the NFL, but it appears cornerback Roy Lewis has found a home with Pittsburgh.
Lewis was signed as an undrafted free agent and was invited to the Steelers training camp in August of last year. The Pittsburgh coaching staff liked the hard-hitting Lewis and his ability to play both corner and safety, so Lewis stuck with the team, getting assigned to the team’s practice squad.
Lewis, who graduated with a degree in American ethnic studies, said he’s bounced between the practice squad and the active roster this season, and is on the 53-man roster for the Super Bowl. However, he’ll probably be inactive for game day.
Defensive backs coach Ray Horton, also a Washington product, said Lewis actually had a chance to sign with Detroit and be on that team’s active roster but turned down the bump in pay to stay with the Steelers.
"He’s a hybrid, corner/safety for us and we like guys who can play two positions," Horton said. "And he’s that. He’s very smart and he’s very tough."
Lewis said he’s gained 20 pounds since college, beefing up to 200 pounds at 5-foot-10, while maintaining his speed in order to take the more physical pounding in the NFL.
"It’s an encouraging environment and an enabling environment," Lewis said about playing for the Steelers. "No one here wants to hurt you. You hear stories about other organizations and how they treat rookies, but that’s not the case here. We’ve been embraced."
Lewis said it was tough to watch the Huskies struggle through a 0-12 season, particularly because he had to bet on the Huskies each week with the rest of the teammates, leaving Lewis a little lighter in the pocketbook.
"It was tough to swallow," Lewis said. "Because I times at the beginning of the year I thought we had a chance. But of course with the BYU call and Jake Locker getting hurt that kind of hurt my heart because I kind of just saw the team fall apart from the inside-out. Guys weren’t playing, guys had lost their fire. I didn’t see any passion.
"Even when I was at UW, win, lose or draw we played hard. I mean on the defense we hit. That’s what we’re known for. You can’t play at UW unless you hit. Just like here with the Steelers."
So what’s the difference between Lewis’ time at Washington and Pittsburgh?
"Confidence," Lewis said. "There is no doubt. We go into every game with the utmost confidence that we’re going to win."