Tragic news strikes former Chicago Bears

Chris Lewis
June 22, 2024  (8:57)

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Photo credit: Athlon play

Texas A&M Star Darren Lewis Dies at 55

Darren Lewis, the Texas A&M star who broke Eric Dickerson's Southwest Conference rushing record before addiction derailed his football career and post-football life, died Thursday night from cancer. He was 55.
A Record-Breaking College Career
Lewis, who shone at Dallas' powerhouse Carter High School, was among the country's top prospects in 1987, often mentioned alongside Emmitt Smith. From 1987 to 1990, he rushed for an impressive 5,012 yards, surpassing Dickerson's previous mark of 4,450 yards, set before bowl statistics were included. He concluded his college career fifth on the NCAA career rushing list, trailing only Tony Dorsett, Charles White, Herschel Walker, and Archie Griffin. Known as «Tank» for his punishing running style, Lewis still leads Texas A&M's career rushing list by a significant 1,309 yards.
Downfall in the NFL
Lewis' promising career took a downturn during the NFL draft process. He revealed he was exposed to cocaine at parties and by prospective agents, who assured him he would test clean. However, he was the only player who tested positive for cocaine at the combine, causing his draft stock to plummet to the sixth round, where the Chicago Bears picked him. Despite claims that they were unaware of his positive test, the Bears sent him to rehab. Lewis started just five games out of 33 appearances in the NFL, rushing for 431 yards in his career. Although he never failed another drug test, he faced domestic battery charges and was released in 1993.
A Struggle with Addiction
After his NFL career ended, Lewis returned to Dallas, hoping to turn his life around but continued to battle addiction. By 1995, he had lost all his money and his house. His troubles with the law began in 1998 with a shoplifting charge, followed by arrests in 2004, 2005, and 2006, leading to state prison on robbery charges. He was released in 2010 but faced further legal issues. In 2014, he was sentenced to 27 years for a series of armed robberies, including shooting a 7-Eleven cashier, which he claimed was an accident.
A Turnaround and Final Years
Lewis was imprisoned in Pollock, Louisiana, where he developed metastatic squamous cell carcinoma. He was moved to a North Carolina prison for medical care and was released last year under a compassionate release program. In his final interview with the Bryan-College Station Eagle, Lewis expressed gratitude for his long sentence, which he believed allowed him to turn his life around. He shared a strong bond with his former coach R.C. Slocum, who noted the significant change in Lewis in his final years.
Here toward the end, he's probably in as good a shape to face what he's facing now, Slocum said. He's been a very strong person of faith. I went up and saw him a few weeks ago, and he had his Bible right there on the table next to him. I'm glad he's not having to suffer anymore. He was fighting it. He approached that just like he did football. He played as hard as he could, played right to the end.
A Cautionary Tale
Lewis hoped his life would serve as a lesson to others. I encourage the young people to use me as an example, he told the newspaper. Making the wrong choice could cost you your career, your life, your family, and your friends. It doesn't cost you anything to make the right decisions, but make one wrong decision and it could cost you your life.
For more on Darren Lewis' story, visit:
Source: ESPN
Former Texas A&M star Darren Lewis dies at age 55 from cancer
JUNE 22   |   59 ANSWERS
Tragic news strikes former Chicago Bears

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