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2013 Sugar Bowl: Derek Lewis wants Gators to graduate

Assistant coach Derek Lewis has been stressing the importance of graduating to the kids on his team.

Chris Trotman

Derek Lewis is an assistant coach with the Florida Gators, and while he is preparing for the Sugar Bowl, he also has been stressing to his team the importance of preparing for life without football, according to the Courier-Journal.

Lewis was a college football player at one time himself, starring as a tight end for the Texas Longhorns in the mid-1990's before playing with the St. Louis Rams for a couple years, earning a Super Bowl ring in 1999.

Now, Lewis stresses the importance of graduating college because eventually, whether after college or the pros, football comes to a close for everyone. Per the article:

"Typical story," Lewis said. "Didn’t finish my degree (while at Texas). Ended up working at the bus station in New Orleans East.

"My dad came and got me and said, ‘If a man doesn’t work, he doesn’t eat. So you need to get you a job. You didn’t get your degree, it’s your fault. You had an opportunity, you didn’t take advantage of it, it’s your deal.’

"So I ended up working in a bus station."

For Lewis, his journey took him to working on a bus, where he had some rough experiences, including being held up. Per the article:

"When a guy is holding a gun on you, you don’t think about it," he said. "You give them what you have and keep your head down and keep going."

Lewis then got into coaching after going back to Texas and earning his degree, something that he realized was necessary to succeed in life.

Photographs by cstreet.us, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.