The Massachusetts Pirates professional arena football team in Worcester has re-signed offensive lineman Cornelius Lewis. Lewis was an All-National Arena League First Team Offense selection last season. At 6-4, 305 lbs. Lewis anchored an offensive line that helped the Pirates establish themselves as the number one passing team in the league averaging 229.8 yards per game. A product of Tennessee State University, Lewis was part of a unit that allowed just 11 sacks on the season, the fewest in the NAL. Lewis had one rush for four yards and one reception for 17 yards that went for a touchdown. He said there were several reasons why he’s coming back to the Pirates.
“The fans,” said Lewis. “I had a great time in Massachusetts. I also left with a bitter taste in my mouth. I didn’t want to end the season like that (with a playoff loss). I wanted to get a little further down the road. We have big plans up there in Mass. and I felt like I owed it to the guys to come back and give it another ride,” he added.
Pirates President Jawad Yatim was impressed with Lewis’ play and leadership.
"C-Lew was a team leader for us on and off the field a year ago. He's that veteran presence in the locker room that is certainly needed when your team is facing different obstacles and adversity throughout the season. He's a lot like Mardy (Gilyard) in that sense and he was extremely productive on the field earning First Team All-NAL honors. He was the leader of an offensive front and we are expecting the same type of hustle and production from Cornelius as we approach the 2019 campaign. Availability is the best ability and he's durable as well, which is always important especially when you’re talking about protecting your MVP quarterback. We are definitely glad to have C-Lew back as we look to make a strong push at a championship this year," Yatim said.
When it came to protecting MVP quarterback Sean Brackett, Lewis said concentration was key.
“Just attention to detail and repetition. We focused on kicking back and getting our hands up, focusing on picking up blitzes and making sure we had the right pass protections,” Lewis said.
He’s also looking forward to working with Anthony Payton, the new Head Coach of the Pirates.
Coach Payton is a great guy and we had conversations after the season ended. We watched film and tried to figure out what went wrong. I’m glad to have him as a head coach,” he added.
The Jacksonville, Florida native has NFL experience as he was invited to the 2009 NFL Combine. Ultimately He signed with the Indianapolis Colts and attended training camp. Lewis has eight seasons of arena football experience playing for the Iowa Barnstormers, Jacksonville Sharks and Tampa Bay Storm along the way earning ALL-AFL honors as well as ALL-NAL honors in 2017.