Tennessee football: 15 Vols who were better in the NFL

Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Jamal Lewis, Tennessee Volunteers
Jamal Lewis, Tennessee Volunteers. (Photo by Craig Jones/Allsport) /

This one is a bit difficult. We prefer multiple Pro Bowl appearances for such players on this list, but Jamal Lewis is an exception because of his one Pro Bowl season. It was a historically great one propels him onto the list barely.

In 2003, Lewis was a 2,000-yard rusher and set what was at the time an NFL record for rushing yards in a game. He was in contention to win NFL MVP and helped carry the Baltimore Ravens into the playoffs as the only guy on their offense.

That alone isn’t why Lewis’s career was better, though. Remember, his best season with Tennessee football was his freshman year in 1997 when with the support of Peyton Manning to open up the run, he became a Freshman All-American with 232 carries for 1,364 yards and seven touchdowns. He also had 23 receptions for 266 yards and nine touchdowns.

The next year, though, he suffered a season-ending injury in the fourth game. When he came back in 1999, he was still recovering, so he split time with Travis Henry throughout the year, eventually losing his starting job towards the end.

Lewis then left early for the pros and enjoyed a 10-year NFL career. He only played nine due to a knee injury keeping him out for all of 2001. In those nine years, he had seven seasons of 1,000 yards or more and rushed for over 10,600 yards in his career. Oh, and he also helped the Ravens win a Super Bowl his rookie year in 2000 when he had over 1,300 rushing yards.