DURHAM, N.C. - Former Duke quarterback Thaddeus Lewis
is scheduled to make his NFL debut on Sunday as the Cleveland Browns close out
the regular season at Pittsburgh. Kickoff at Heinz Field is set for 1
"It's exciting," Lewis
told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "Once you get the official word
that you're starting, it's a blessing for a childhood dream come true. It's an
opportunity, and you have to go out and make the best of it. Part of my
childhood dream was to be a starter one day in the NFL. Who it was against, I
didn't have a visual of that. But it's a challenge, and if you don't like
challenges, then you're in the wrong sport. It's a great challenge for this
offense to go against the No. 1 defense and try to be successful."
Lewis will face the Steelers'
top-ranked defense, which is No. 2 against the run and No. 1 against the
pass. Both the Steelers (7-8) and Browns (5-10) have been eliminated from
"He's done great," Browns
head coach Pat Shurmur told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "He's been
preparing himself to play all year, even though he wasn't on the active roster.
We anticipate, and what we expect, is that he goes out and plays winning
A four-year starter for the Blue
Devils from 2006-09, Lewis earned All-ACC honors twice and is one of just two
players in league history to throw for over 10,000 career yards. For his
collegiate career that included 46 starts under center, he completed
877-of-1,510 (.581) passes for 10,065 yards with 67 touchdowns and 40
"We could not be more excited
for Thaddeus," said Duke head coach David Cutcliffe. "He is an
exceptional young man who has worked extremely hard, and it is not by accident
that he has this opportunity."
On the Pittsburgh sideline will
be former Blue Devil standout wide receiver and current Steelers assistant
coach Scottie Montgomery, who was on the Duke staff as an assistant coach for
all four of Lewis' seasons in Durham.
Lewis would become the
seventh Duke quarterback to start an NFL game, joining Leo Hart, Al Woodall,
Dave Brown, Sonny Jurgensen, Bob Brodhead and Anthony Dilweg.
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