Stamps' Lewis intent on leading

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:19 PM ET

Nik Lewis expected to have a bounce-back season in more ways than one.

For starters, the Calgary Stampeders receiver expected to be more of a playmaker — not just barely cracking the 1,000-yard mark, but also by reaching the endzone much more often in 2010.

Another way was being a go-to-guy, and we’re not talking about catching passes, running away from defenders, blocking downfield and reaching the house.

It was about being a leader, which he knew the team needed after veteran Jeremaine Copeland was traded to Toronto in the off-season.

“I had to focus in on what would make this team keep going in the right direction,” Lewis said following Sunday’s rundown. “I didn’t want to turn this around and make it go in a bad direction, so I tried to take it on myself to be more of a leader, to do my part, be a little bit more vocal and do the right thing.

“It’s hard to remain positive when I was one of the ones chirping and yelling, so I try to keep my yelling to a minimum, but it still happens.

“I still have lapses.”

Maybe something like the Tweets he made Friday night while watching the B.C. Lions face the Edmonton Eskimos, which have raised a stir in Vancouver.

Lewis wrote a couple of things which caught eyes on the West Coast:

• “Does anyone in BC’s Defensive backfield hit anybody above the knees”

• “tell Geroy he is getting old. That interview, he needs to put on some make-up to cover up some of that stress” he wrote to injured Lions cornerback Dante Marsh.

“There’s no disrespect between me and Geroy,” said Lewis, who knows he’s raised the intensity prior to the clash between the Stampeders and Lions Saturday. “You’ve got a job to do. They’ve got a job to do. I’ve got a job to do. I’m going to enjoy my job, and

I make it easy for you to enjoy your job. At the same time, it’s not personal.”

But you know the defensive backs on the Leos will take what he said to heart.

“Do I think they’re going to hit me above my knees? No,” Lewis said. “Tell them I’ll give a bonus to all the DBs that don’t go low. Maybe that will work. I don’t know.”

The way Lewis performed in Saturday’s 23-20 victory over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the Lions defenders may need that extra motivation from the bulletin-board material.

He racked up 10 receptions for 160 yards against the Blue Bombers.

A big part of it stems from the desire to be a leader.

Another is no longer dealing with the knee injury he battled through all last season. A prime example is how he gained a step on Winnipeg linebacker Ike Charlton for a 64-yard reception, which set up Ken-Yon Rambo’s touchdown.

“I feel good that I can go and run and do things. I’d say Ike got the best of me last year because he could just press me because I didn’t have the explosion. Now that I’ve got a little more explosion, I can do things,” Lewis said. “And I feel real comfortable about where I’m at, I feel good about this offence and where we’re going. It’s great communication between the quarterback and the offensive co-ordinator.

“I’m enjoying it.”

Thus a season in which he’s already compiled 31 receptions for 421 yards and three touchdowns.

“I feel like I can have better games than that,” Lewis said, but not with the brashness of years past. “I’ve just got to focus on catching the ball and keep getting open.”

randy.sportak@sunmedia.ca


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