Per Mary Kay Cabot, Browns head coach until Monday Pat Shurmur announced today that third-string quarterback Thad Lewis would start against the Steelers in Week 17, as Brandon Weeden and Colt McCoy are
terrible "dealing with injuries." Lewis will be the Browns' 18th starting quarterback since 1999, and this will be his first career start. But who is he, anyway?
Hailing from Hialeah, Fla., Thad Lewis started four years at Duke. Lewis's Wikipedia page—which has to be correct—claims that his nickname is "The Champ." How'd he get that moniker? This totally legitimate sentence in his "College career" section explains:
He won 10 National Championships at Duke, Thats why he is nicknamed the champ.
Better add that to our master list of best athlete nicknames of all time.
Want to see some Thad Lewis Duke highlights? Here are two minutes and 43 seconds of Thad Lewis highlights for you to watch.
After he left Duke, he entered the 2010 NFL Draft. Unfortunately, he went undrafted. The overview from his combine profile:
Lewis has been an extremely effective quarterback for Duke over the past four years and has done a good job of maintaining a quality touchdown-to-interception ratio. He understands the offensive scheme and is a good game manager, but his arm strength is marginal and his accuracy, especially on the deep throws, can be erratic at best. He is athletic and can extend the pocket and does a good job of squaring his shoulders to make the throw when on the move. He does a good job of protecting the football and does not force many throws. He will struggle when he needs to add some zip on his throws to squeeze the ball through small windows but has enough going for him to make you think he could catch on as a backup at the next level.
He played for the Rams until he was waived before the start of the 2011 season. The following season, the Browns signed him, waived him, then put him on their practice squad. He's been waiting for his shot, and it has finally arrived, in a Week 17 game against the Steelers that has no effect on anything else in the NFL.
What are the people of America saying about Thad Lewis? Let's find out:
At best? Thad Lewis could be an undrafted RGIII, with his "marginal" arm strength and "deceptive" running ability. Cleveland fans will forget all about the wizened Weeden's woes and print up "Mad 4 Thad" shirts. They'll talk about an AFC championship in 2013 with The Champ leading their squad. Pat Shurmur will get a five-year extension.
At worst? Well, he's still not Ryan Lindley.