Born: October 5, 1971
Town: Fort Dix
Chad Wayne Lewis was born October 5, 1971 in Fort Dix. He grew up in a Mormon family that relocated to Orem, Utah when he was a child. Big for his age, he grew to 6’6” in high school, where he played football and basketball, and was a high-jumper. After graduating from Orem High, Chad went to Taiwan on a two-year church mission. He learned to speak Mandarin, and was later sent by the NFL to promote football in Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore.
Upon his return, Chad enrolled at Brigham Young University. He won a spot on the BYU varsity as a walk-on tight end. It didn’t hurt that the team’s head coach, LaVell Edwards, also grew up in Orem. Chad saw sporadic action as a freshman, but made all the highlight reels with a great one-handed touchdown catch against Ohio State in the Holiday Bowl. The following spring he made the BYU track squad as a high jumper.
Promoted to starter in 1994, Chad reeled in between 31 and 37 catches over his final three seasons for the Cougars—including 5 TDs as a senior. He was also a key special teams player, blocking five kicks. He earned All-WAC and honorable mention All-American honors as a junior in 1995. In 1996, BYU finished with a #5 national ranking and beat Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl, 19–15.
Chad passed through the 1997 NFL Draft without any takers, but signed wiuth the Philadelphia Eagles that summer. He saw action in all 16 games as a rookie, catching 12 passes and scoring 4 touchdowns. He spent most of 1998 on the bench and was released six games into the 1999 season. The Rams snapped him up as a backup for Roland Williams. The Rams went on to win the Super Bowl, although Chad did not catch any postseason passes.
Chad re-signed with the Eagles in 2000 and had an All-Pro season at age 29. He caught 69 passes—the most of any tight end in the NFL—and scored three times. After the season he played in his first of three consecutive Pro Bowls. The 2004 season was Chad’s last as a starter. He caught 29 passes and was a key member of the NFC East champs.
The Eagles beat the Vikings in their first playoff game, and then defeated the Falcons in the NFC Championship. Chad was the hero, catching a short scoring pass from Donovan McNabb to give Philly a 14–3 lead. That turned out to be the winning play in a 27–10 victory. Chad caught another short scoring pass in the closing minutes to seal the game. Unfortunately, he injured his foot on the play and was unable to participate in the Super Bowl. The Patriots beat the Eagles 24–21. His replacement, LJ Smith, caught a touchdown pass but also lost a fumble.
Smith beat out Chad for the starting job in 2006. After playing the year as a sub, he decided to call it a career at age 35. He retired with 229 receptions and 23 touchdowns. He was inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame in 2007 and joined the Cougars’ athletic department in 2010.