Cornerback Ryan Lewis has emerged as a potential answer for the New York Giants at the cornerback spot opposite James Bradberry. Big Blue View had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with Lewis via phone on Friday evening. Here is the result of our chat.
Ed: The Giants are your eighth NFL team since 2017. How much does this opportunity mean to you?
Ryan: “It’s big and it’s a dream come true. Whenever my number’s called the only thing I want to do is make sure that I just do my job, help this team get a win.
“I’ve had a couple different opportunities on a bunch of different teams. The dream is still the same no matter where I’m playing at. The goal is just to do whatever I can to win. Any opportunity given to me at any position is a blessing.”
Ed: You have had the door slammed in your face so many times have you ever considered giving up?
Ryan: “I’ve experienced the worst already. I’ve been cut a couple times. The first time you get cut is always the worst. You just keep learning from it. I know how the business goes. I’ve talked with my dad, he’s been a front office guy for a long time now so I just know how everything works.
“To me it’s just motivation … my goal has always been to play in the NFL and to be successful in what I do. I’ve already reached my one goal to play in the NFL now I just want to continue to be successful.”
Ed: What are your thoughts on Giants’ defensive coordinator Patrick Graham?
NOTE: Lewis played eight games for the Miami Dolphins last season, where Graham was defensive coordinator.
Ryan: “He’s a player’s coach. He does what he does for his players. He grinds for us and he expects the same out of us. I like his mentality, we’re aggressive, we want to go after the football and we want to do whatever we can to put pressure on the offense.
“He’s a great person, someone I can talk to outside of this room about anything. I owe him a lot for taking the time and getting me to the Giants.”
Ed: Last week against the Dallas Cowboys was your first start with the Giants. How would you assess your play?
Ryan: “I felt like I played fast, executed what I had to do. Obviously I let a couple plays get away from me, but that’s just part of the game. Learning from them is the biggest thing because you’re never going to have a perfect game. I know that, everyone knows that. Playing corner in the NFL is no walk in the park.”
Ed: I have to ask about the last play, the long completion to Michael Gallup. It looked to me like you did everything you possibly could. Did you feel that way?
NOTE: Lewis was the defender on the 38-yard pass from Andy Dalton to Gallup that set up the Cowboys’ game-winning field goal.
Ryan: “That was a great throw and great catch. Andy Dalton put it on the money and the receiver made a great catch. The only thing I wish I woulda done is try to keep my feet a little better, I did kinda stumble. But I’ve gotta give the Cowboys their credit. They made a big-time play.”
Ed: Your dad played in the NFL. Have you always been around the game?
NOTE: Lewis’s father, Will, was a cornerback who spent time with the Seattle Seahawks and Kansas City Chiefs in 1980 and 1981. He has been a coach and executive in the NFL, CFL, USFL and XFL. The family ties to football run even deeper.
Tim Lewis, Ryan’s uncle, was a first-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in 1983. He played cornerback for the Packers until injuries ended his career in 1986. Lewis had several NFL coaching stops, including being Giants’ defensive coordinator from 2004-2006.
Louis Riddick, Ryan’s cousin, is a former NFL player, executive and currently an NFL analyst.
Ryan: “I’ve always been around that. Ever since I can remember it’s been all about football. Traveling to games, going to team outings, Christmas parties. Everything football related. Meeting some of the players, meeting the coaches, picking their brains when I got a little bit older. It’s always been kinda like my obsession. My healthy obsession.”
Ed: You were briefly teammates this year in Washington with Alex Smith. What are your thoughts on his comeback?
Ryan: “That’s awesome. For everything that he went through with the injury and the infection and all that and possibly never being able to walk again let alone playing football but walk again was crazy.
“I’ve gotta give him his credit. He’s a hard worker and his story is going to be told for a long time. Props to him.”
Ed: What is something about you that most fans wouldn’t know?
Ryan: “A lot of people say I come off as kind of like a tough guy when I’m on the field, but I really am a family man when it comes down to it. I’ve got my two dogs at home, that’s kinda like my family, I’ve got my girlfriend with me. They’re everything to me. I love dogs, I’m a softie when it comes to dogs.”
NOTE: Lewis owns an English Bulldog named Luna and a Doberman named Ziggy. Amazingly, Lewis didn’t know about teammate Logan Ryan’s love for dogs and his foundation that supports them. He does now.
Ed: Final question. Three current or former NFL players you would like to have dinner with or hang out with?
Ryan: “Odell Beckham. I just know he’s a good guy all around, good personality, funny guy.
“Larry Fitzgerald for sure. He’s a Pitt guy, just like me. I met him when I used to play for the Cardinals, talked to him a couple times. He’s a great guy.
“Darrelle Revis. Another Pitt guy, as well. I’d just like talking to him, just pick his brain. With Revis Island he’s one of the best man-to-man corners in the NFL, so it would be great to learn from one of the legends.”