Keenan Lewis said he feels better about his long-term security with the New Orleans Saints after having a meeting with unspecified team officials this week following his request to be released if they won’t guarantee the final three years of his contract.
Lewis spoke to NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune on Saturday while helping to coach a youth football camp in Baton Rouge. Lewis said he hasn’t gotten any indication that the team plans to rework his current contract, as was reported by the NFL Network on Friday. (I also have not gotten any indication that a new deal is in the works).
"The only thing I know is that I had a meeting and they promised that they never had any plans to let me go," Lewis said. "They said that I was in the plans for the upcoming years. They told me I was going to be part of the plan. We didn't talk about any numbers, or the contract."
Lewis also said he has no reason to believe a CBS report from Friday that the Saints are “actively shopping" him in trade talks.
"I wasn't frustrated because I have confidence in my coach," Lewis said, adding that he talked to coach Sean Payton several times this week. "He talks to me all the time and he never mentioned anything to me about being traded."
It’s unclear if that means Lewis will take back his threat to skip organized team activities and minicamp if the final three years of his deal aren’t guaranteed. Lewis told ESPN.com Tuesday that he wasn’t feeling happy or secure with seeing so many teammates shipped out of town over the past two years. And he vowed, “I will be a distraction if they can’t do that for me, period."
"I told my agent I just need this week to clear my mind and enjoy my offseason with my family," Lewis said. "But my dream was always to play for the Saints and coach Payton."
Lewis has repeatedly stressed that he is not trying to be selfish, that he is not asking for more money and that he wants to finish his career in his hometown of New Orleans. Lewis has made those points both in interviews and in a series of Instagram posts.
And he apologized to Saints fans in the TP interview for sending a message that suggested he wanted to be elsewhere.
"If it had to come out for people to judge me that way, say that I'm being selfish ... because I wanted to live my dream, which is to play for my hometown team, I can live with that," said Lewis, who said it was “shocking" to see how much negative feedback he got from fans.
“I'm telling people in all honesty that my goal is to retire here, for the team that I've been watching 28 years of my life, the team that I would really die for, where my heart is at," Lewis said. "It kind of hurt to see it, but I understand that people are going to have their opinions. But I don't think it was wrong of me to voice my opinion that I want to end my career playing for this team."
Lewis also said he was even more excited after the Saints signed free agent cornerback Brandon Browner -- a former teammate at Oregon State whom Lewis said took him under his wing in college.
Lewis said he campaigned both the Saints and Browner to make the deal.
"He'll definitely make me improve my game," Lewis said. "He feels like he's the best. I feel like I'm the best. We're going to push each other, basically just like he did with Richard Sherman in Seattle and (Darrelle) Revis in New England. I'm definitely excited. I'm fired up."