Lewis Knows a Good Blocker When He Sees One

Dan Raley

Greg Lewis, Washington's one-time Doak Walker Award winner, Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and Rose Bowl tailback, was happy to see a bunch of Huskies recently rewarded with postseason honors. 

As somewhat of an expert on offensive linemen, he still expressed a little amazement that sophomore right guard Jaxson Kirkland wasn't more widely recognized.

The son of former UW standout Dean Kirkland, the 6-foot-7, 323-pounder from Portland received the coaching staff's award for Huskies Lineman of the Year and was selected to the second unit of the Pro Football Focus All-Pac-12 team. High praise, indeed. 

However, on the league's own All-Pac-12 team, as chosen by the coaches, young Kirkland was nowhere to be found.

"Jaxson's been our most consistent and one of our best of linemen," Lewis said. "He's got that toughness I think that's really required to be an offensive lineman. I thought he and Nick Harris played really well this season. I was a little surprised Jaxson wasn't a little more prominent on all of those teams."

Similar to Kirkland, senior left tackle Trey Adams was selected first-team All-Pac-12 by the league, but completely ignored by Pro Football Focus, which picked three separate offensive teams. What gives?

"I'm excited he was honored, though some of that may be his history as a great player," Lewis said. "He'd be the first to say his body is not what it used to be. I was a little surprised he was on the first team, but I'm certainly excited and glad he is."

Adams will skip the Vegas Bowl to safeguard his NFL interests, as will junior tight end Hunter Bryant. Lewis, who serves as executive director of the Meredith Mathews East Madison YMCA, says he fully supports their decisions, considering their injury history. He knows about gambling on his football health. 

At the 1991 Rose Bowl, Lewis actually postponed knee surgery and played injured against Michigan, somehow rushing for 129 yards on sheer grit in a 46-34 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes. He admittedly would have passed up playing in a lesser bowl. 

"As 20-year-olds, you only have so much time to make some money in the NFL," said Lewis, who played two seasons with the Denver Broncos before retiring. "After two years, I was damaged goods forever. I think they're making the right call."

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