May 9, 2012

MVP Profile: Jamal Lewis, 2003


Running Back, Baltimore Ravens



Age:  24
3rd season in pro football & with Ravens
College: Tennessee
Height: 5’11”  Weight: 231

Prelude:
It was anticipated that Lewis would immediately start at running back when he was taken by the Ravens in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2000 NFL draft. He did, improving as the season went along and gaining 1364 yards on the ground and 296 more on 27 pass receptions for a team that won the Super Bowl. However, he missed all of 2001 due to a knee injury suffered in training camp, but came back strong in ’02, rushing for 1327 yards. With speed as well as power, he also was a productive receiver out of the backfield and caught 47 passes for 442 yards.

2003 Season Summary
Appeared and started in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Rushing
Attempts – 387 [2]
Most attempts, game - 32 (for 134 yds.) vs. Denver 10/26
Yards – 2066 [1]
Most yards, game – 295 yards (on 30 carries) vs. Cleveland 9/14
Average gain – 5.3 [4]
TDs – 14 [3, tied with Shaun Alexander & Clinton Portis]
200-yard rushing games – 2
100-yard rushing games – 12

Pass Receiving
Receptions – 26       
Most receptions, game – 6 (for 43 yds.) vs. Seattle 11/23
Yards – 205
Most yards, game - 44 (on 4 catches) vs. Kansas City 9/28
Average gain – 7.9
TDs – 0

Total yards – 2271 [3]

Scoring
TDs – 14 [6, tied with Clinton Portis]
Points – 84

Postseason: 1 G (AFC Wild Card playoff vs. Tennessee)
Rushing attempts – 14
Rushing yards – 35
Average gain rushing – 2.5
Rushing TDs – 0

Pass receptions – 2
Pass receiving yards - 4
Average yards per reception – 2.0
Pass Receiving TDs - 0

Awards & Honors:
NFL MVP: PFWA
NFL Offensive Player of the Year: AP
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA, Sporting News
1st team All-AFC: Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Ravens went 10-6 to finish first in the AFC North while leading the NFL in rushing yards (2674). Lost AFC Wild Card playoff to Tennessee Titans (20-17).

Aftermath:
Some luster was lost from the outstanding 2003 season when Lewis was indicted on federal drug conspiracy charges in the offseason. He was suspended for two games in 2004 after pleading guilty and then missed two more games with an ankle injury. He was thus limited to 1006 rushing yards – less then half his ’03 total – and caught only 10 passes. Lewis followed up with a poor year in 2004, running for just under a thousand yards (906) while averaging a substandard 3.4 yards per carry. After gaining 1132 yards with a low 3.6-yard average, he was dealt to Cleveland for 2007. Lewis was effective for much of the season, including a 216-yard rushing performance against the Bengals, and ended up with 1304 yards with a 4.4 average gain. He played two more years with the Browns with steadily diminishing returns, putting together his last of seven thousand-yard seasons in ’07 and finishing up with an even 500 yards in 2008. For his career, he rushed for 10,607 yards on 2542 carries for a 4.2-yard average and 58 touchdowns and caught 221 passes for 1879 yards and four more TDs.

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MVP Profiles feature players who were named MVP or Player of the Year in the NFL, AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974), or USFL (1983-85) by a recognized organization (Associated Press, Pro Football Writers Association, Newspaper Enterprise Association, United Press International, The Sporting News, Maxwell Club – Bert Bell Award, or the league itself). 

[Updated 2/9/14]