Nik Lewis closing in on 10,000 yards

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:23 AM ET

CALGARY - For the last eight and a half seasons, Calgary Stampeders fans have become intimately familiar with what Nik Lewis brings to a football field.

It's a unique combination of hands, power and speed that have propelled Lewis to the brink of the 10,000-yard career receiving mark, as the 5-foot-10, 240-lb. slotback is 92 yards away heading into Friday's Labour Day Replay clash with the Edmonton Eskimos (7 p.m., TSN, QR77).

But don't expect anyone in Texas or Arkansas to be surprised about what No. 82 has done over his career.

Stamps defensive end Kenny Pettway witnessed it firsthand at Southern Arkansas.

Everything that touched his hands, he caught, Pettway said of his former Muleriders teammate, who he's known for 12 years. He'd make some crazy catches in college and he's made some crazy catches up here. He's got that size, too, where most DBs don't really want to get in there and make that full-body tackle.

You have that intimidation factor and you've been doing it so long and people are scared of you running for the long touchdown, even though he doesn't look like it, he'll run off and leave you or run you over or jump over you or come back and lay that devastating block to let someone else get up the field.

Long story short, Lewis is as complete as they come.

With the Mineral Wells, Texas, native only a couple crossing patterns from becoming the 16th CFL receiver to join the 10,000-yard club, and the ink still drying on a new long-term deal he signed earlier this summer, talk of catching Geroy Simon for the all-time lead has already started.

It's not something Lewis wants to entertain.

I don't see myself playing at the same age as Geroy, Lewis said of the soon-to-be 37-year-old B.C. Lions pass-catcher, who's the owner of 15,554 yards and counting. My body feels great. I feel great, personally. I feel like I can always go out and get it done. There'll be a day I'll walk away and if we're standing here and I do have the all-time lead in receiving yards? Then, wow, it's unbelievable.

You know it's a milestone. You know it's there. Maybe after it happens, I'll put a little more thought into it, Lewis added.

While Lewis downplayed the forthcoming accomplishment, it's hard to find a reason to believe he'll slow down. Eight seasons of 1,000-plus yards and no less than 67 catches in each campaign will do that.

But maybe Lewis does have his eye on Simon after all.

Oh, yeah, he wants to get up there, Pettway said with a laugh. He's talking about Geroy and saying Geroy's a great receiver, same as Milt (Stegall), and to be considered in that group of guys, who've played the game and people changed their defence to be able to cover those guys ... to be in that same circle, it's awesome.

That's a big accomplishment, Pettway added. You look at the people who've reached 10,000 in their career NFL or CFL that's a big milestone to reach. In this game, to be able to play at such a high level for so long, it takes a special person, and he's doing it. I can't be more proud of him to get to that milestone.

The level of consistency is the most impressive part of what Lewis, 30, has done thus far. At the same age, Simon was hovering around the 6,000-yard mark.

Even Lewis a bit surprised.

I knew that I would be successful by the way I play and the way I approach the game, but never this, Lewis said. You see so many people come and go every year. There's 30 or 40 players new every year. It's hard to try to be consistent like that.

He's hoping to hit 10,000 on Commonwealth Stadium turf.

It'd be nice to, but I went for 100 last week, so we'll see, Lewis said. I'm pretty sure (the Eskimos) are going to change some things up, so we'll see how they play it. If they play the same, then I'm pretty sure I can.


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