After months of practices in pads with no rewards or victories in sight, Browns running back Jamal Lewis finally snapped Thursday, blasting coach Eric Mangini and his methods.
''I’m tired of it. I’m tired of dealing with the politics, I’m tired of dealing with the whole organizational thing, just how things go. it’s just tiresome. when you don’t have to deal with it, why deal with it?''
Lewis is four days away from playing his final game against the team that drafted him, the Baltimore Ravens, on Monday Night Football. Lewis, 30 and in his 10th season, announced after the Browns' last game at Chicago Nov. 1 that this would be his final season, even though he has a year left on his contract.
Lewis is miffed about Mangini working the players too hard and leaving nothing in the tank on game day.
''The way we work in two-a-days and camp, the way we work every day on the field for 2 1/2 or 3 hours, you want a 'W' on Sunday when you work like that,'' Lewis said. The Browns are 1-7.
He said he's practiced more in pads this season than in three or four seasons combined in Baltimore.
''The talent is there, there's talent all over this locker room, young and old. But that talent's got to be able to be fresh and ready for Sunday, to be ready to go out and be efficient for Sunday. You can work all day, you can work seven days a week. But if you're going to work like that, on Sunday you're not going to get what you want out of your players.''
Lewis was elected a co-captain and Mangini has an open-door policy. Lewis could address his concerns with Mangini, but seems adamant that he won't do that.
''Hey, this is his show, it's not mine. It's his show, it's not my show. Not anybody else around here's show. We're just the crop. You've got to take care of your crop. If you don't take care of your crop, when it comes time to harvest, you're not going to make no money because the crop ain't no good.''
Mangini has said he's changed his approach this season, but not to Lewis' liking.
Asked Mangini had changed his approach, Lewis said, ''Next question.''
Lewis also does not seem to relish the role of a mentor, at least for players who are not running backs.
''I'm going to come out here and work the way I work, I want results, I want to be able to go out and right now that's not what's going on. I feel like it's just a waste of time. I know we've got a lot of young players ... but I'm not a babysitter. I come here every day to work and get the job done. I'm going to lead more by example,'' Lewis said.
''I'm not here to just take care of young players. There's one goal coming into training camp, to have a winning season. When we fall short of that, it seems like you're babysitting or you're trying to help the young players and you're trying to teach. I don't have time for that. I've got my job to worry about, I've got these guys in the backfield with me to worry about, to help them out and get them better. I just want to come out here and win.''
Lewis also questioned whether he's the right type of running back for Mangini's offensive scheme.
''Through the weeks if you notice, this offense is built as more of a pass type offense,'' Lewis said. ''You know what the system is, you know where it came from and I don't think I'm the back that's built for that.
''The scheme is good. You've got to utilize your players. A lot of times it's not all about the scheme, it's about getting the ball in the players' hands in order to make plays and put yourself in the best situation to win.''
Lewis said his decision to retire was not made in haste or frustration over the Browns' losing season.
''I chose to retire a long time. Three or four years ago I knew what I wanted to do in year 10,'' he said.
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