By Mark Eckel, Player Engagement Insider
Greg Lewis hasn’t brought it up to his young Philadelphia Eagles’ wide receivers just yet. He knows the time will come eventually.
“I know they know about it,’’ Lewis, now the Eagles’ wide receiver coach, said about his ESPY-winning catch as a member of the Minnesota Vikings to beat the San Francisco 49ers, 27-24, in 2009. “But I don’t bring it up to them.’’
It was 40-year-old Brett Favre’s first home game as a Viking and his team trailed the 49ers, 24-20, when he got the ball back at the 20 with 1:29 to play.
Minnesota moved to the San Francisco 32 yard line, but just 12 seconds remained and a field goal wouldn’t be enough.
“That was my first game as a Viking, too,’’ Lewis, who spent the first six years of his career with the Eagles, said. “I didn’t dress the first two games of the season. That was the first time I was active. And it was my first catch.’’
And as it turned out he became part of one of the greatest plays in Vikings’ history, if not NFL history.
“We were in a two-minute drill and we had three wide receivers out there,’’ Lewis remembered. “We had run like eight plays without a stoppage and (wide receiver) Percy (Harvin) had gotten winded. I was the next guy. I saw him tapping his helmet. I just ran out there. I was in his spot. It was a vertical route. Brett rolled out, stepped up, saw me and threw it. It was my job to catch it.’’
Lewis caught Favre’s fastball — did he ever throw anything else? — in the back of the end zone and somehow managed to keep both feet in bounds as the clock showed 0:02.
“That was the hard part,’’ Lewis said. “I could catch all day, but being able to drag my feet and stay in bounds. I think back to how I did it and I’m like ‘wow.’ I mean we practiced it all the time, but then to be able to do it when it happened that was pretty special.
“And for me, I didn’t make too many, so you remember ones like that.’’
A catch like that one, memorialized on film and archived everywhere is something Lewis gets to share with his family, even years later.
“It’s cool to look back and see I won an ESPY for best play and all that,’’ he said. “And for my kids to see it. They were really young when it happened, like one and two years old. So they can see it now and say ‘Daddy’s not just a coach. He really did play and made a great play.’”
Lewis, who was a wide receivers coach at the University of San Diego, San Jose State and Pitt before joining the New Orleans Saints in 2015 as assistant wide receivers coach, is back with the Eagles as their receivers coach this season.
“I always knew I’d get into coaching,’’ Lewis said. “I never knew I’d get back here (in Philadelphia). It’s kind of crazy to be back here and coaching the position I played here.’’
Lewis is also the answer to an often-asked Eagles trivia question. He’s the only Eagles wide receiver to catch a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl when he did so in Super Bowl XXXIX, a 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots.
“That’s correct,’’ Lewis said with a smile. “Not Harold Carmichael, not Mike Quick, not T.O (Terrell Owens). I get on Harold and Mike all the time about that. I’m the only one.’’
That’s something he does share with his young group of Eagles’ receivers that includes the promising Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor.
“Oh yeah,’’ Lewis said. “I tell them about the Super Bowl catch. That’s Eagles’ stuff. They need to know that.’’