Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis had a career year in 2010, making the Pro Bowl and earning a big contract extension prior to the start of the next season. His season following his contract extension was a massive disappointment, as he went from catching 10 touchdowns and being a big time redzone threat, to struggling to even catch the football and not being a scoring threat at all.
It wasn't heavily documented at the time, but Lewis was going through a custody battle with his daughter and he let it get to him on the field.
"People from the outside don't necessarily know," Lewis told Mark Long of The Associated Press. "They think we're machines and think we can't be altered by real-life situations.
"It affected me the entire season and after that. At that time, I didn't know how to compartmentalize it. I didn't know how to put it in a different place. This was my first time dealing with something like this," Lewis said.
After the 2011 season, Lewis was ready to move on from that situation after it had resolved and wanted to move forward. The problem in 2012 however, was that he wasn't heavily involved in the offense because of the situation on the offensive line. He bounced back in 2012 with 52 catches for 540 yards and four touchdowns, but was still a bit underwhelming by most's standards.
"Obviously, we hoped for more things last year," Lewis told long. "But it just didn't work that way. Not once did I argue or whine."
Heading into 2013, Lewis has been all smiles in the offseason, partially because the team has seemingly resolved the offensive line situation with No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel, but also because offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch seemingly plans to feature him more in the offense.
"We need him to be more than just a blocker," Fisch told Mark Long. "We're trying to use this camp to see what he does best. There's a lot of positives."
Lewis' blocking will still be an asset on the team going forward, but getting him involved in the passing game could help things much more. When Lewis was on his game in 2010, he was a threat down the seam and helped keep teams honest in the middle of the field, sometimes keeping the safety from walking down to support the run.
"I love blocking," Lewis told Long. "But at the same time, I want to catch the rock. I want to be able to put us in position to score touchdowns. That's only natural. I actually want to help this team win."