Giants rookie receiver Roger Lewis wasn’t drafted, quite possibly due not to talent but an off-field issue that nearly landed him in prison.
Charged as a high-school student with two counts of rape arising from incidents with the same alleged victim that occurred 36 days apart in December 2011 and January 2012, Lewis eventually landed at Bowling Green and did well enough to get a shot to make an NFL roster.
“Things had to make me stronger as a 18-year-old going through hard times,” Lewis told the New York Post. “I think I feel very prepared because, you know, situations make or break you.”
The situation nearly broke him. Acquitted by a jury on one rape charge, the jury couldn’t agree on a verdict as to the second charge. With a second trial on that charge approaching, Lewis pleaded guilty to providing false information to police.
“All this, everything that’s happening, is just God blessing me with just the little things,” Lewis said. “Just reminding myself that I’m an undrafted free agent. . . . I have to play with a chip on my shoulder every day.”
His new boss has noticed.
“He’s a guy that has a chip on his shoulder, doesn’t say much and goes about his business the right way,” coach Ben McAdoo told the Post. “He’s businesslike, and we like that about him.”
It still won’t be easy for Lewis to make the climb from 90 to 53.
“[It will be] a huge learning curve from the system he was in in college to what he’s asked to do here,” offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan told the Post. “We’ve seen some good things from Roger, and we’re excited to have him in the mix.”
Lewis has a long way to go to become the team’s next Victor Cruz. The more attention he receives, the more people will notice the fact that he was a hung jury away from going to prison for rape.