PHOENIX – Taylor Lewan is living his best life right now.
Lewan is here at the Super Bowl, just down the road from where he grew up. He's part of a popular podcast, Bussin' With The Boys, that he gets to do with his best friend. All week, Lewan and former Titans teammate Will Compton have been interviewing celebrity guests, and they've been having fun, as usual, doing it.
And, when this week is over, Lewan gets to go home and experience something even better.
"Listen, I would put my life up against anybody's – I have a fantastic life," Lewan said. "I have a wife that is truly incredible, puts up with my bullsh*t on a daily basis, and loves me for it. She actually enjoys the bullsh*t. Then there's my two daughters – my five-year-old is the sweetest thing in the entire world, your textbook 'Loves unicorns, rainbows and puppies', and my two-year-old is an absolute firecracker who is going to get what she wants, when she wants it, and how she wants it. And, they all love me. It is amazing, really. I am alright. I don't have to work. … That's not me pumping my tires, that's just the reality of where I am at right now at 31-years-old, and it's a good feeling knowing where I've come from in my life when I was younger."
Yes, he said it.
Lewan, the team's first-round draft pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, knows he doesn't have to play football any longer if he doesn't want to. He's made enough money, has accomplished a lot of things on the field, and currently, his life is at a place where he could walk away and be happy.
So now, Lewan is facing an internal battle about what's next for him.
Does he say goodbye to the game? Or, does he commit himself to continuing a career that has included three Pro Bowl trips and 106 career starts, but has not produced the ultimate goal of playing in a Super Bowl himself?
Lewan, as he said on his podcast previously, is expecting the Titans to release him the near future. He understands why, and he knows his cons – he's scheduled to make a lot of money, he's had two ACL surgeries in three years, and he's only played in 20 games over the past three seasons.
"In the next couple of weeks, I will be cut by the Tennessee Titans – that will happen," Lewan said. "I truly believe that in my heart of hearts.
"Then I have to go into a situation that I've never been in in my entire life: I have to weigh the pros and cons of playing football, or not playing football."
If that does in fact happen, it would potentially leave Lewan with these choices: Retire immediately. Play for another team. Or, potentially come back to the Titans at a reduced salary.
And, right now, Lewan isn't sure exactly what he wants to do.
"Football, it is not something I can wake up five years from now and say: You know what dude? I am going to go play ball again," Lewan said. "Once this chapter is closed, I am not a Brett Favre. I am not these guys that is going to retire and unretire. I am not going to do that. I am going to make a decision, and I'm going to stick with that decision. But I am happy either way, and I think that is the most beautiful thing I can be given in my life. Regardless of what decision I make, I will truly find peace and joy in both decisions. So, I am very, very lucky, and fortunate."
Lewan, who had surgery to repair an ACL injury after being carted off during the team's Week 2 contest in Buffalo this past season, said he's been rehabbing the knee and making great progress. He's lost weight, and is feeling good.
During his interview with TennesseeTitans.com, he said his only interaction with new general manager Ran Carthon has been good, and he talked about his great relationship with head coach Mike Vrabel. Lewan said he was thrilled when the team elevated Tim Kelly to offensive coordinator, and he said new offensive line coach Jason Houghtaling is a coach any offensive linemen would love to play for.
Lewan knows his contract makes things tricky. He's willing to have conversations about it, he said.
"Obviously my contract is $14 million next year," Lewan said. "If they come back and are like, 'If you want to come back, this is the number we'll bring you back at' I'm sure there will be somewhat of a conversation of: How does your knee look? Are you interested in playing? Mike and I have a fantastic relationship. Mike and I talk, we text, he makes fun of me and Will on a group chat on a consistent basis. It's a great relationship. So, there will be a lot of transparency and he'll tell me how he feels and what he thinks and if he thinks that's a good thing for them, then there is absolutely a conversation to be had. If I was going to play another year, my preferred spot would be where I've been for the last nine years. I'm a loyal guy, and it would feel very uncomfortable for me to wear a different uniform."
At some point, conversations will need to take place.
At some point, Lewan will have to make a decision.
At this point, he can't say 100 percent how things will end up.
Lewan did say if he decides to keep playing football, he won't be doing it at 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90 percent.
He'd be all in.
But right now, he has to decide whether he's in or out.
Today, he has another busy day at the Super Bowl.
"I'll say this: I would never step on a football field in my entire life and not be 100 percent in, because a lot of things happen – you look like an idiot, because you don't play well, and you get hurt," Lewan said. "For me, if I am going to play football, it will be at 100 percent. There will be no Plan B. I'll still do Bussin' – that's me sitting on a bus for an hour a week and tweeting about it. It's literally the same thing as these guys going on Twitch and playing video games. I'm just doing it from podcast standpoint.
"But if I made the decision to come back – if I choose to play football in the 2023 season, there will be no half in/half out, because that is not the way you should do a competitive sport at the elite level. You can't do that. It's not only wrong, it's just you are just never going to get the best product you can. My career has been awesome – you can look at some of the bad in there, but buddy, nine years, same team, three Pro Bowls, help take a team from 2-14 to six straight winning seasons, and being a part of that, being a part of a shift in a culture. I am extremely proud of my career, and I would never come back and play football, whether it was for the Titans or somebody else, and be like: I just need to cut a check because I just feel like it, and I want more money. That is not the human being I am, and I can't do that. I know some guys can, and some guys really do. That's great – you guys do what you have to do – but that's not how I am going to operate the situation. … Right now, I have a lot of decisions to make that I'll have to make with my family in the next few weeks."