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Old 03-04-2007, 03:11 AM  
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Albert Lewis joins Chiefs Hall of Fame

http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansas...s/16829363.htm

Lewis thrilled to join Hall

Four-time Pro Bowl cornerback was a hit on field, but rubbed some people wrong off it.

By ADAM TEICHER
The Kansas City Star

“If this was a surprise, it’s only due to the fact it wasn’t the most pleasant departure ever.”

If the issue was only his performance in 11 stellar seasons for the Chiefs, Albert Lewis never would have worried about his entrance into the team’s Hall of Fame.

Lewis was arguably the best Chiefs cornerback ever, a four-time Pro Bowler who was a key figure in the franchise’s resurrection under Marty Schottenheimer and Carl Peterson.

But Lewis was often a controversial figure from the time he joined the Chiefs as a third-round pick in 1983 to the time he walked out the door. He was part of the player coup that led to John Mackovic’s firing after the 1986 season, conducted an acrimonious contract holdout in 1990 and issued some blistering criticism of Peterson when he signed as a free agent with the Raiders in 1994.

Lewis feared the bad blood generated by those episodes might overshadow his considerable accomplishments at cornerback.

Lewis, it turns out, never had to worry. He was introduced as this year’s inductee to the Chiefs Hall of Fame on Saturday night at the annual 101 banquet at the Westin Crown Center Hotel.

“I had hoped this would happen,” Lewis said. “It’s a great honor. But I didn’t leave Kansas City in the best of circumstances. I’m sorry about that. It was a different era then. There was a lot of strife in the labor movements in those days.

“If this was a surprise, it’s only due to the fact it wasn’t the most pleasant departure ever.”

None of this is to suggest the strong-willed Lewis would change a thing, even if it meant his exclusion from the Chiefs Hall of Fame.

“There isn’t a whole lot for me to feel bad about,” he said. “Change does not come without controversy. At that time, there were very few friendly departures.

“All of those things were necessary. Everything I did I based on principle. I don’t think any of those things were wrong, but I’m not happy with the way I did some of them.”

In particular, Lewis said he regretted taking part in the player meeting that led to Mackovic’s firing.

“I felt bad about that until I made amends with him later on,” he said.

That stubbornness, as frustrating as it could be for the Chiefs, was also the quality that made him what he was as a player.

Lewis is 6-foot-2, a size considered to be too tall for a competent cornerback.

“He turned out to be our shutdown corner,” said safety Lloyd Burruss, a Chiefs teammate of Lewis’ for several seasons. “But he had to learn the ropes when he came in as a rookie. He was so frustrated at not being able to get the techniques down right away, but that just showed everybody how much he cared about being the best he could be. He really took pride in that stuff. He had the tools but he honed them by really studying the other guy.”

Lewis quickly mastered the nuances of the position and became a starter in his second season. He used his size and uncommonly long arms as weapons against opposing receivers.

“He was the tallest cornerback I’ve ever seen,” said safety Kevin Porter, another former Chiefs teammate and now head coach of the Arena League’s Kansas City Brigade.

“A lot of tall guys have trouble turning their hips, but not Albert. He had just perfect technique. He couldn’t have gotten away with that if he didn’t. But he had that and he had those long arms and he came to play every day. He would play that press coverage all game and he made a lot of days miserable for a lot of receivers.”

Lewis’ career soared after the arrival of Schottenheimer as head coach in 1989. Lewis was built for the one-on-one coverage Schottenheimer asked from his cornerbacks.

With Lewis and fellow Chiefs Hall of Fame members Deron Cherry, Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith, Schottenheimer built one of the NFL’s sturdiest defenses.

“The one thing Albert was so good at was getting a jam on the guy at the line and then turning and running with him step by step,” Cherry said.

“It was very rare to see a cornerback with that size. He could battle the big receivers. But he also had the range and the speed to stay with the smaller, quicker receivers. He had an innate ability to read and react and make up distances.”

Lewis paired at cornerback for much of his Chiefs career with Kevin Ross. The two were among the best corner tandems of their time and were Pro Bowlers after each of Schottenheimer’s first two seasons.

“The thing about playing against us was that it was a total contrast,” Ross said. “He was 6-2. I’m 5-9. You’re not going to treat a 5-9 guy like you treat a 6-2 guy, so the other teams had to prepare for two totally different styles. That was in our favor.

“He was great at getting the ball away from the receiver. He had those long arms and when he would swat at the ball, he would come down with a lot of force.”

Lewis was also a proficient kick blocker early in his career, his long arms allowing him access to punts. Lewis blocked 10 kicks with the Chiefs. Four were returned for touchdowns.

“He was so quick to the ball,” Cherry said. “Those guys on the outside always thought they could get their hands on him. Usually they were wrong.”

Lewis left the Chiefs and finished his career in 1998 after five seasons with the Raiders. He was an assistant coach for a time under Schottenheimer with the Chargers and now lives on more than 300 acres in Centreville, Miss., where he raises and trains race horses.

Like all residents of the Gulf Coast region, his life was disrupted by the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina.

“I came out of it OK as far as life and death,” Lewis said. “I was one of the lucky ones. I’m back and fully operational. Everything was just torn up for a little while. It took awhile to recover. Horses are all I’ve ever known other than football.”
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Old 03-04-2007, 04:51 AM   #2
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Albert was the biggest reason the Chiefs made the playoffs after their long absence in 1986.
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Old 03-04-2007, 07:03 AM   #3
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He should get in the hall just for publicly criticising Carl.
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Old 03-04-2007, 07:58 AM   #4
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Lewis was is and will be a class-act ....
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Old 03-04-2007, 08:08 AM   #5
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He became a Raider. NO.
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Old 03-04-2007, 08:19 AM   #6
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Old 03-04-2007, 09:12 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Guru
He became a Raider. NO.
I'm not happy about it either, but this certainly isn't as offensive as inducting Bronco Neil.
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Old 03-04-2007, 09:17 AM   #8
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Great to hear. Chiefs org recognizes his accomplishments

Going to the Raiders well it's a Business. I don't like it either but.,,,,

Are we happy Marcus Allen is in NFL/Chief HOF with Chief Red when he was a Faider before ?????

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Old 03-04-2007, 09:21 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by frazod
I'm not happy about it either, but this certainly isn't as offensive as inducting Bronco Neil.
Yeah, I don't like that one either. But at the time, becoming a Raider was the ultimate slap in the face.
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Old 03-04-2007, 09:25 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Guru
Yeah, I don't like that one either. But at the time, becoming a Raider was the ultimate slap in the face.
I don't recall Lewis dissing the fans like Bronco Neil did.

Also, Lewis enjoyed zero success with Oakland. He was never actively involved in cheating that resulted in us being bounced from the playoffs and sending the Raiders to a Super Bowl.
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Old 03-04-2007, 09:46 AM   #11
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I'm against it.

When Albert was here he was my favorite Chief. He was a great player.

And yes, he crossed swords with King Carl. But so did a lot of other players, and they didn't defect to the evil Raiders. As a free agent, he could have chosen to play anywhere. He chose to be a Raider. When he did that, he was dead to me.

I can't abide any Chiefs player who willfully chooses to leave KC and play for the Raiders or Donks. Sorry, for me it goes beyond just "business." It's a slap in the face to the fans, and a disgrace to our best players who fought with everything they had against the Raiders and Donks over the years. Hell, why not put Ken Stabler and John Elway on our ring? They both had lots of really good games in Arrowhead, and sure played well here. C'mon people, do you think the Packers have any ex-Bears on their ring? Think the Cowboys have any ex-Redskins on their ring?

It's the same reason I was totally against putting Neilbonics on the ring. I'd be against Dale Carter on the ring for the same reason. But hey, after they put Steadman up there, the ring is totally meaningless to me now anyway. Why not put Tony DiPardo, Bill Grigsby and Warpaint the Horse up there too?

On the day they induct Albert, I'll get up, turn my back, go up to the concession stand, get a beer, take a leak, and come back to my seat. I won't cheer for a guy who ended his career with the Raiders.

Chiefs who willfully became Raiders or Donks are not worthy to be included with players like Len Dawson, Willie Lanier, Derreck Thomas or Bobby Bell.
That's just the way I feel.
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Old 03-04-2007, 09:47 AM   #12
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The Chiefs HOF doesn't mean much to me. Not only does it have Raiders and Donkeys in it but it has Jack Steadman. The man who engineered 20 years of losing. (The seats were empty as well)
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Old 03-04-2007, 09:51 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gblowfish
I'm against it.

When Albert was here he was my favorite Chief. He was a great player.

And yes, he crossed swords with King Carl. But so did a lot of other players, and they didn't defect to the evil Raiders. As a free agent, he could have chosen to play anywhere. He chose to be a Raider. When he did that, he was dead to me.

I can't abide any Chiefs player who willfully chooses to leave KC and play for the Raiders or Donks. Sorry, for me it goes beyond just "business." It's a slap in the face to the fans, and a disgrace to our best players who fought with everything they had against the Raiders and Donks over the years. Hell, why not put Ken Stabler and John Elway on our ring? They both had lots of really good games in Arrowhead, and sure played well here. C'mon people, do you think the Packers have any ex-Bears on their Ring? Think the Cowboys have any ex-Redskins on their ring?

It's the same reason I was totally against putting Neilbonics on the ring. I'd be against Dale Carter on the ring for the same reason. But hey, after they put Steadman up there, the ring is totally worthless meaningless to me now anyway. Why not put Tony DiPardo, Bill Grigsby and Warpaint the Horse up there too?

On the day they induct Albert, I'll get up, turn my back, go up to the concession stand, get a beer, take a leak, and come back to my seat. I won't cheer for a guy who ended his career with the Raiders. Just can't do it.

Chiefs who willfully became Raiders or Donks are not worthy to be included with players like Len Dawson, Willie Lanier, Derreck Thomas or Bobby Bell.
That's just the way I feel.
I was at the game when they inducted Bronco Neil. I held up a Bronco sticker with a red circle/slash over it and booed throughout the length of the ceremony. Unfortunately, I doubt if anybody heard it from my nosebleed seats. I know you have great seats - were there people booing loud enough to be heard on the field? God, I hope so.

And I agree, the Ring took a serious hit when that traitor scumbag was inducted. Might as well put Elway in, too.
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Old 03-04-2007, 09:56 AM   #14
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IIRC, Lewis was on one of the pre-game shows before his first game against the Chiefs, and said he always wanted to be a Raider anyways. He was dead to me from that point on.
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Old 03-04-2007, 10:03 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frazod
I was at the game when they inducted Bronco Neil. I held up a Bronco sticker with a red circle/slash over it and booed throughout the length of the ceremony. Unfortunately, I doubt if anybody heard it from my nosebleed seats. I know you have great seats - were there people booing loud enough to be heard on the field? God, I hope so.

And I agree, the Ring took a serious hit when that traitor scumbag was inducted. Might as well put Elway in, too.
I got up and took a whizz during the NeilBonics thing, so I don't know how many people boo'ed him. I didn't want to watch it.

A lot of Chiefs fans have no sense of history, or don't care about this kind of stuff. They see the game as just a day of entertainment, like going to a rock concert. I'm sure a lot of current Chiefs fans don't even know who Albert Lewis is, or particulary care who he is. These are the same kind of fans who come out of the stadium laughing and cutting up after a Chiefs loss. That's always bothered me a lot, but some people don't care that much if we lose.

I guess since football has become such a business, maybe things like tradition and rivalries don't mean squat to a majority of fans. Those kind of detached fans have the attention span of an Irish Setter, and only remember what happened in last week's game. It means more to me. Maybe it shouldn't. Every year I have to re-evaluate my emotional attachment to the Chiefs. You can only get hit in the face with a frying pan so many times before you learn to duck.
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