The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 26, 2010

Two-time all-stater at Joplin signs as free agent with Chiefs

By Anvil Welch
Globe Sports Writer

— A job?

Andrew Lewis laughed at the question.

“Right now, I’m working for the Kansas City Chiefs,” Lewis, a Joplin High School graduate, said on Monday.

The Chiefs announced the signing of the 6-foot-4, 297-pound Lewis, a starter in the offensive line his final 37 of 50 games at Oklahoma State, and 10 more rookie free agents on Sunday.

“I was signed as a center but I’ll have the opportunity to play guard (his previous position for the Cowboys),” Lewis said. “They’ll be trying me at different positions.”

Lewis, who turned 23 on Feb. 20, said he will fly to Kansas City on Thursday for a mini-camp.

“I’ll practice on Friday and Saturday and return on Sunday,” Lewis, a two-time all-stater at Joplin, said.

Lewis and the former Ashley Martin of Paris (Texas), an OSU graduate, were married on Jan. 16 and they live in Stillwater.

Jesse Wall, his coach at JHS, said Monday he wasn’t surprised that Lewis has received an NFL opportunity.

“Not at all,” Wall, now at Carl Junction High School, said. “Andrew, in high school, was a hard worker and very intelligent. We — our entire coaching staff — agreed that Andrew would be a great player. That was our consensus. He had an outstanding career at Oklahoma State.”

That outstanding career extended into the classroom with Lewis — as did Miami (Okla.) product Mark Chesnut — among the Cowboys earning all-academic honors in the Big 12 Conference.

Lewis received his undergraduate degree in business management in December 2008 and tacked on a master’s in health care administration in December 2009.

Lewis, a native of Texas, moved to Joplin as a second-grader.

“I supported the Chiefs probably because they were so close.” Lewis said. “I probably attended only two NFL games.”

Lewis said he was called by several NFL teams during and after the draft. The Chiefs, he said, were persistent.

“It (the decision) was down to the wire. Really, I couldn’t ask for anything better with the Chiefs,” Lewis said. “I also wanted to be in the Midwest.

“I believe the Chiefs represent my best opportunity to make it,” Lewis said. “Yes, I looked at the depth chart.”