LB provides Seahawks with a solid defender off the bench

Updated: November 6, 2003, 8:36 AM ET
ESPN

KIKRLAND, Wash. -- D.D. Lewis has spent most of his blossoming NFL career watching and learning, and it looks as if the second-year Seattle Seahawks linebacker has been a good student.

One week, Lewis stepped in for injured veteran Chad Brown and found himself as Seattle's co-leader with seven tackles. The next, he made a nifty swim move past an opposing center and blocked a punt.

"Just trying to help my team win," Lewis said modestly.

There might not be another player on the NFC West-leading Seahawks (6-2) who appreciates his situation as much as Lewis, who made the roster last season as an undrafted free agent.

"I'm very thankful for the opportunity to be in the NFL," the soft-spoken Lewis said. "I know there are thousands of guys out there who would like to be in my position."

Fans might remember another linebacker named D.D. Lewis -- the Dallas Cowboys standout of the 1970s. They're not related, but when the younger D.D. Lewis was growing up in Houston people often confused the two.

"It was funny because a lot of people thought he was my dad. I told them, 'I guess you've never seen his picture," said the Seattle linebacker, who is black. The former Dallas player is white.

Lewis had to carve out a new identity when he moved into the NFL. In college at Texas, he started all 51 games in his career. He's the school's career leader with 10 recovered fumbles.

But when nobody selected him on draft day, he showed up at Seahawks training camp knowing he'd have to be willing to do whatever was asked. He did, and that's one reason coach Mike Holmgren loves the guy.

"I give them that speech at the beginning of every training camp," Holmgren explained. "If you work hard enough and want it bad enough, you can make the team and beat the odds.

"Well, he's one of those guys."

Lewis made the highlight reel in Sunday's 23-16 win over Pittsburgh. He came up the middle and blocked a punt by Josh Miller, setting up a 34-yard field goal by Josh Brown.

It was the first blocked punt for the Seahawks since Alex Bannister got one against Denver in October 2001.

Asked which linebackers he admires, Lewis mentions Baltimore standout Ray Lewis. But then he quickly nods toward the linebacker seated at the locker to his right -- Chad Brown.

"He's a multiple-threat linebacker, and I'm speaking the truth," Lewis said. "He can rush the passer or just as easily take on the runner. That's the kind of linebacker I want to be, the total package."

Holmgren feels Lewis is getting there, eager to learn and always eager to perform well.

"He's a very valuable part of our special teams," Holmgren said. "Now, he's getting a chance to play more, and he's ready. He's still young and he still does some young things out there. But all in all, I'm glad we have him."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index