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Packers Will Not Re-Sign Marcedes Lewis

Marcedes Lewis will break an NFL record this season. He will not do it with the Green Bay Packers, a source told Packer Central.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – After drafting two tight ends in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Green Bay Packers will not be re-signing veteran Marcedes Lewis, a source told Packer Central on Sunday night.

Without Lewis, a revered leader and still one of the best run blockers at the position, the Packers will be incredibly young on offense.

At quarterback, 24-year-old Jordan Love is replacing Aaron Rodgers. At receiver, where Allen Lazard and Randall Cobb joined Rodgers and the Jets, 25-year-old Samori Toure is the oldest player to have played in a game. At tight end, Lewis is set to turn 39 on May 19. Josiah Deguara and Tyler Davis, both age 26, are the oldest players to have played in a game.

“He’s a pro’s pro,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said of Lewis after the rookie minicamp on Saturday. “You guys know how I feel about Marcedes, and I think [Musgrave and Kraft] would definitely learn [a lot from him]. A lot of times, these guys learn more from some of the players than they do from us as coaches because they can give them little nuggets.

“I think a player-led team is more powerful than a coach-led team, and we got a lot of young guys, which is really exciting. But, yeah, I think any time you got a veteran guy like that that’s played for as long as he’s played at such a high level, I think it would be beneficial for everybody.”

With youth dominating those positions, a sage veteran such as Lewis could have played a key role not just on offense but in leading the entire roster. It's a role he would have accepted.

But general manager Brian Gutekunst is going full speed ahead with second-round pick Luke Musgrave and third-round pick Tucker Kraft as the future at the position. The team leaders will be developed from within, with more likely expected from the likes of running back Aaron Jones and cornerback Jaire Alexander.

Lewis had a remarkable five seasons in Green Bay and would have been interested in jumping onboard for No. 6. Signed in 2018 – Mike McCarthy’s final season with the Packers – he practically was forgotten on the bench. Headed to free agency and perhaps retirement after the season, Gutekunst convinced him that things would be different under LaFleur.

And they were.

Lewis played in all but one game over the last four seasons. He’s started the past 46 games, the longest active streak by a tight end by nine games.

Other than quarterbacks Rodgers and Tom Brady, Lewis was the only player age 38-plus to start more than one game last season. Lewis started all 17.

Assuming he signs with another team and plays in a game, he will be the first tight end in NFL history to play 18 seasons. Lewis, Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten hold the tight ends record with 17 seasons.

It’s a record Lewis wants and has worked to attain. He’s a physical marvel due in part to his offseason of MMA training.

“My goal when I got drafted was to play 10” seasons, Lewis said during minicamp last year. “I figured 10 was like, ‘Yeah, that’s a great career.’ I figured I’d be tired and ready for it to end. And then once I got 10, I was like, ‘Damn, I feel good, like I can still continue to do this.’

“Got to 13 … Once I got to 13, 14, I was like, ‘Let me see what the record is.’ This year, I’ll tie the record. It would be great to break it and then I would consider, ‘OK, I’ve done that.’ Eighteen is kind of bizarre, especially at the tight end position. Yeah, I didn’t start thinking about it until later on in my career.”

Lewis is a “good friend” with Gonzalez.

“When he got to 17, I was like, ‘God, I don’t know if I can do 17.’ The way we play tight end is totally different. Tony was more pass catching. I did a lot of both. Now, I’m in my second prime as far as run blocking and stuff like that.

“Obviously, I’m in the trenches with what I do. If I want to get 18, I have to consider, ‘Yo, I’m playing the game way different than how pass catching and catching passes.’ My heart and my mind have to be aligned like, ‘Yo, I want to go get this record.’”

That record will have to be set with some other team. And Musgrave and Kraft will have to grow on their own and without an esteemed leader to help show the way.

“My message to them all the time is don’t think about competing against the guy next to you. You’re competing against what you’re capable of,” Lewis said last year. “You’re being the best version of who you are every single day. When you can do that, you can sleep at night.”

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