Why adding 19-year veteran Marcedes Lewis is significant for the Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears' youth movement was the talk of the offseason.

Incoming are Caleb Williams and Rome Odunze, expected fixtures in the Bears' offense for years to come, as well Kiran Amegadjie, who could grow into a starter on the Bears offensive line.

Those players are the expected future. This week, the Bears welcomed back a 19-year NFL veteran to Halas Hall when the team re-signed tight end Marcedes Lewis on a one-year deal.

"He's a tremendous leader and he's got a great way about him," Bears head coach Matt Eberflus said. "He's got great wisdom, great wisdom and discernment."

In bringing back Lewis, the Bears aren't only deepening the team's tight end room. The Bears are also adding veteran leadership to a team with young pieces that are new to the NFL and new to the Chicago Bears.

Eberflus noted that Lewis is also a player that can help the Bears coaching staff, most of which are new on the offensive side.

"He helps everybody in the building, not just the players," Eberflus said. "He helps me in terms of the feel for the team and where everybody is in terms of the players. And he's been a tremendous leader since I've known him and we're certainly excited to have him back."

Lewis turned 40-years old last month. He began his NFL career in Jacksonville, and played there for 12 seasons while making one Pro Bowl. He also played for the Packers for five seasons before signing with the Bears prior to the 2023 season.

In the 2023 season, Lewis started four games at tight end and caught four passes for 29 yards and a touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals on Christmas Eve. While the receiving numbers aren't eye-popping, Lewis is considered one of the best blocking tight ends in the league.

The Bears have plenty of receiving talent at tight end with Cole Kmet and Gerald Everett. Adding Lewis gives the Bears' leadership and dependable blocker on the edge.

Lewis' longevity across 19 seasons stands out to Eberflus due to what it takes to keep a player's body healthy and in playing shape for that long.

"It is remarkable when you think about that," Eberflus said. "There's normal human beings and there's other people that play 17, 18, 19 years in the NFL."

The biggest reason why, aside from having luck when it comes to avoiding injury, is because Lewis takes care of his body.

Lewis understands how every aspect of being a professional athlete plays into success on the field. 

Eberflus noted this, especially as the Bears hope to have sustained success from Williams, Odunze and more for the better part of the next decade.

"He works at it," Eberflus said. "He works at his nutrition part of it, the strength and conditioning and more importantly, he works at flexibility. I think that's where he really gains his edge, is the flexibility and balance that he has."


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