The Wolverine

September 2018*

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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SEPTEMBER 2018 THE WOLVERINE 71 BY AUSTIN FOX O n July 27, Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan, the for- mer All-American lineman at Mich- igan (2009-13), signed the richest deal in NFL history of any player at his position. A c c o rd i n g t o E S P N ' s A d a m Schefter, the agreement is for five years and is worth $80 million ($16 million per season), with $50 million of it guaranteed. Schefter reported it is the most guaranteed money and highest annual salary ever for an of- fensive lineman. Lewan — surrounded by his fellow offensive linemen — walked into the July 27 press conference sporting a white Boss Hogg suit and hat, imitat- ing the fictional "Dukes of Hazzard" character. "We did this whole [Dukes of Haz- zard] thing as a joke, but in all seri- ousness, this is unbelievable," the lineman exclaimed. "I am extremely happy to be a part of this team for a few more years, and I think these next several years will be special for all of us. "I'm extremely fortunate to have had some of the luck I've endured, and to be given such talent, like my height [he is 6-7]. "You sometimes think about what could possibly happen, but I don't know that I ever would have painted it this way. This city has been awe- some to me — I don't think we'd be welcomed with some of my antics and the things our O-line does on other teams, but Nashville has taken us in just fine. "I just want to be the best left tackle I can be — I am not here to reinvent the wheel. It doesn't matter how much you get paid, and I am here to do my job." Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota also chimed in on the protector of his blind side. "I am happy for Taylor and am glad that is all taken care of," he said. "Taylor has done such a great job for us. It is well deserved, and I look for- ward to having him around for years to come." Offensive tackle Nate Solder had previously owned the largest deal ever for an offensive lineman when he inked a four-year, $62 million con- tract with the New York Giants in March. The 2018 campaign will mark the final year of Lewan's rookie deal, which he signed with the organiza- tion after they drafted him with the 11th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. The 27-year old has become a stal- wart in Tennessee, starting every game over the past two years, while earning Pro Bowl selections both seasons. Pro Football Focus company tabbed him as the No. 4 offensive tackle in the league in 2017, and NFL Network's Brian Baldinger had high praise for him as well. "Lewan is the Boss Hogg for a rea- son," Baldinger exclaimed. "In pass protection, he has the ability to con- trol the backside of Marcus Mariota. "He does what offensive linemen do — works, sweats and then hy- drates … and gets paid." The NBA DERRICK WALTON SIGNS DEAL WITH THE BULLS Former U-M point guard Derrick Walton (2013-17) signed a "standard one-year contract" with the Chicago Bulls Aug. 13, his agent, Mark Bartel- stein, told MLive. Walton played last season with the Miami Heat on a two-way contract, bouncing between the NBA squad and the organization's G-League Sioux Falls Sky Force team in South Dakota. Walton actually experienced quite a bit of success in Sioux Falls, ap- pearing in 27 games and averaging 16.1 points and 7.1 assists, while also participating in 16 contests with the Heat. The Titans inked Lewan to a five-year deal worth $80 million, giving him the highest annual salary ($16 million per year) and most guaranteed money ($50 million) ever for an offensive lineman in NFL history. PHOTO COURTESY THE TENNESSEE TITANS MICHIGAN IN THE PROS Taylor Lewan Signs Historic Contract In Style

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