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NU hoops to NFL?

Overshadowed by the Mike Williams pro day Monday was another one in an unlikely Western New York location. Niagara University basketball star Tyrone Lewis worked out for five NFL teams on the Lewiston campus.

Lewis was a good cornerback in high school in Levittown, Pa., but hasn’t played football in five years. He just finished an outstanding hoops career at Niagara, finishing third in career scoring and first in steals. Lewis finished his career as the only player in MAAC history to record 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 200 assists and 200 steals.

Lewis received a Facebook message from Packers scout Eliot Wolf after Wolf watched Niagara beat Siena in a game on ESPN on Feb. 12. “Do you have any interesting in playing football again?” inquired Wolf, who was impressed by Lewis’ athleticism.

That led to Monday’s session. Lewis is friends with Houston Texans running back Steve Slaton, also from Levittown. He called Slaton for some pointers, and Slaton hooked him up with his agent. Slaton’s agent made some calls around the NFL. Five teams showed up – Buffalo, Cleveland, Green Bay, Indianapolis and San Diego.

Lewis, 5-foot-10 and 172 pounds, said he was not told his 40 time, but he got positive feedback from Packers scout Lee Gissendaner.

“He just said, ‘You’re athletic enough to play," Lewis said.

Lewis is likely to have offers to play pro basketball in Europe, and those tend to be lucrative. But he’s intrigued by the idea of being invited to an NFL camp as a rookie free agent.

"Obviously the technique is a little bit off, which is from not playing football for five years," Lewis said. "But I felt I did pretty well. I'd love to give it a shot."

“There’s a lot of good college football players who can’t say they had a pro day," he said.

---Mark Gaughan


 

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