Ex-Bears, Texas A&M RB Darren Lewis Dies From Cancer At Age 55

We publish independently audited information that meets our strong editorial guidelines. Be aware we may earn a commission if you purchase anything via links on our pages.
Ex-Chicago Bears, Texas A&M running back RB Darren Lewis Dies From Cancer At Age 55

Former Chicago Bears running back Darren Lewis passed away after a battle with cancer at the age of 55, the Texas A&M Aggies announced on Friday.

In 2014, he was sentenced to 27 years in prison for a string of armed robberies at hotels and convenience stores, including shooting a 7-Eleven cashier in the leg, which Lewis claimed was an accident.

Lewis was imprisoned in Pollock, Louisiana, where he developed a mass on his shoulder that later ruptured and was determined to be metastatic squamous cell carcinoma.

According to ESPN’s report, he was moved to a prison in North Carolina for medical care before being released last year as part of a compassionate release program.

Former Chicago Bears running back Darren Lewis was selected in the sixth round of the 1991 NFL draft

At 5-foot-10 and 219 pounds, Darren Lewis was selected 161st overall by the Bears in the sixth round of the 1991 NFL draft.

In 33 NFL career games (six starts) across three seasons (1991-93) with the Bears, he rushed for 431 yards and four touchdowns on 112 attempts while averaging 13.1 rushing yards per game. Lewis, a native of Dallas, Texas, also caught 22 passes for 201 yards.

Furthermore, Lewis came out of Carter High School in Dallas in 1986 and was considered one of the top running backs in the country along with Randy Simmons and Emmitt Smith. Aggie head coach Jackie Sherrill signed Lewis and Simmons.

At Texas A&M, Lewis was a two-time All-American (1988, 1990) running back for the Aggies and the all-time leading rusher in both A&M and Southwest Conference history.

In 46 career games over four seasons (1987-90) with the Aggies, he ran for 5,012 yards and 44 touchdowns on 909 carries while catching 25 passes for 126 yards.

Nicknamed Tank, his career total of 5,012 rushing yards broke the old SWC record of 4,450 yards set by Eric Dickerson at SMU. He won SWC Player of the Year in 1988 after rushing for 1,692 yards and seven touchdowns.

Additionally, Lewis rushed for 100 yards or more in each of the last 10 games of the 1988 season, setting the program mark for consecutive 100-yard games. Plus, he finished second in the 1988 NCAA rushing title to Heisman winner Barry Sanders, who recorded 2,628 rushing yards.

He was on the Bears’ radar in the second half of his college career.

Lewis’ 5,012 career rushing yards ranked him fifth on the NCAA’s all-time career rushing list

In the 1989 season, Lewis played in the first 10 games before a knee injury sidelined him. He posted 961 yards and scored 11 rushing touchdowns in head coach R.C. Slocum’s first season as the Aggies’ head coach. Lewis also finished with an 84-yard run against Houston, the longest run from scrimmage in his career.

In 1990, Lewis led the SWC in rush attempts (291), rushing yards (1,691), rushing touchdowns (18), yards from scrimmage (1,739), and touchdowns from scrimmage (19). He led the NCAA in rushing yards and touchdowns that season as well.

Lewis’ 45 career rushing touchdowns were a Texas A&M record for nearly 20 years until being broken by Jorvorskie Lane in 2008. His 27 career 100-yard games are still an A&M record, and his five career 200-yard rushing games are both a Texas A&M and SWC record.

In Lewis’ final game as an Aggie in the 1990 Holiday Bowl, he rushed for 104 yards on 25 carries and scored two rushing touchdowns in Texas A&M’s 65-14 victory against Heisman winner Ty Detmer and the BYU Cougars.

Lewis would also throw a 39-yard touchdown pass to quarterback Bucky Richardson. The lefthanded running back also tossed touchdown throws to Gary Oliver in 1987 against Rice and to Tony Thompson in the 1988 Cotton Bowl win over Notre Dame.

At the conclusion of his college career, Lewis’ 5,012 career rushing yards ranked him fifth on the NCAA’s all-time career rushing list. This ultimately led to the Bears drafting him.