Tyquan Lewis Could Get Start In Today's NFL Debut

Indianapolis Colts rookie Tyquan Lewis, who has been on IR to this point of the season, could get the start along the defensive line today in his NFL debut.


INDIANAPOLIS —Welcome to the NFL, kid. You're in the starting lineup.

For Tyquan Lewis, that scenario could very well become reality by the time today's Week 10 matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars gets underway.

Lewis, the Colts' second-round pick who has spent the entire 2018 regular season to this point on the injured reserve list with a toe injury, could be in line to get the start at defensive end for Indy in his NFL debut.

The Colts (3-5) have released their inactives list prior to today's game against the Jaguars (3-5), which includes tackle/guard Denzelle Good, cornerback Nate Hairston, tight end Ryan Hewitt, safety Mike Mitchell, defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, tight end Erik Swoope and defensive end Kemoko Turay.

Turay, a fellow 2018 second-round pick, has started the team's last three games at defensive end, opening the possibility of Lewis starting in his spot today against Jacksonville.

Like Turay, Lewis brings energy to the defensive front — not to mention his ability to play both inside and off the edge — Colts head coach Frank Reich said on Friday.

"He's physical, active. He just brings some juice, you know, and he brings position versatility," Reich said of Lewis' debut today. "He can play inside, he can play out, he can play end, he can play tackle. So you can move him around. … Not sure there will be a pitch count that he'll be on, (but) we'll play it from there."

For Lewis, today's NFL debut is a long time coming. He excelled getting into opposing teams' backfields at Ohio State, where he finished with 112 career tackles (53 solo), 36.5 tackles for loss, 23.5 sacks and five forced fumbles. In 2016, the two-time team captain was named the Smith-Brown Defensive Lineman of the Year, awarded to the best defensive lineman in the Big Ten.

Looking to add elite talent to their defensive line, the Colts used one of their four second-round picks in this year's draft on Lewis, and by the time training camp was in full swing, he was beginning to get into the rotation when he suffered a toe injury prior to the team's first preseason game on Aug. 9.

Placed on IR at the beginning of the regular season, Lewis was immediately viewed as a prime candidate to be one of two players the team could bring back from IR down the road.

Lewis returned to practice on Oct. 24, setting in motion a 21-day window the team could use to decide whether or not to activate him, or revert him to IR for the rest of the season. The Colts officially moved Lewis to their active roster on Friday.

"I'm just really excited to get back on the field (and) just excited to be next to the guys I'm with," Lewis said Friday about the emotions involved with playing in his first NFL game. "It's an emotional moment, but right now I'm just focused on winning the game."

For Lewis, today's game will carry extra meaning, however, as it just happens to fall on his late great-grandmother's birthday.

Elvenia Russell passed away in 2014, and would've been 94 on Sunday.

Lewis' jersey number? 94.

Simply put: this date has been circled on Lewis' calendar for a while now.

Welcome to the NFL, kid.

"I told myself that I would love to be back by then and I'd just love to play that game, especially just play for her and just play with everything I got just for her," Lewis said. "I just did everything in the training room extremely hard to the best of my ability so I could play."

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