Next up in our Path to the Pros series is Lewis Cine. The star defensive back reflects on what he accomplished at Georgia and shares his goals for the NFL.
Even after winning the College Football National Championship and being voted to first-team All-SEC, football is the only thing on Lewis Cine’s mind. Georgia claiming the 2022 title satisfied the hunger for Cine to reach the peak of college football. Now, that same hunger to achieve greatness has returned, and the new mountaintop is the NFL.
Football is the proverbial path that led Cine to the NFL Draft stage, so he has no reason to change up his formula for success. As for brand building and endorsements, neither are on the forefront of Cine’s mind. He prefers to let his play speak for itself and let everything else come naturally.
Boardroom caught up with Cine ahead of the first round of the NFL Draft kicking off Thursday from Las Vegas.
Randall Williams: What has the draft process been like for you?
Lewis Cine: The constant travel and meetings in between because during this time you’re supposed to be working out, staying fit, and getting your body right, but it makes it a little tough because of the traveling. I’ve been fortunate enough to make it work where I’ve used some of the hotels’ gyms or workout rooms. The positive part is getting to meet new people.
RW: Talk to me about your experience at the NFL Combine.
LC: My experience was fun but also exhausting at the same time. The fun came from the guys that you’re grinding with. The other sides kind of sucked — like getting up dumb early and going to meeting to meeting to meeting. The doctor meeting, the team meetings, from formal meetings to informal ones, but other than that, even the other players laugh through it. It was one time. I experienced it. I’m in a new class of brotherhood from the combine, and I’m blessed for that.
RW: What will you miss about playing for Georgia?
LC: I’ll miss the environment. College has a different feel than playing in the NFL. There’s more on the line for players. The NFL is a business — guys get paid regardless of what happens. College football is like religion. That will probably be the main thing I’ll miss.
RW: Is there any better way you to close your college career?
LC: There’s no better way to ride off into the sunset. We won the natty and got a ring. It was Georgia’s first ring in 41 years, which is crazy. To have the opportunity to get that done was surreal. It leaves a really good taste in your mouth.
RW: Have you thought about what it’s going to be like hearing your name called in a couple days?
LC: It’s going to be a relief but not a relief at the same time. The main reason is I’ll be happy in terms of realizing my dream and getting my foot in the door, but I know the work is yet to be done. I still have a whole lot to prove. This is going to be like freshman year all over again. I have to show why I was picked. I have to gain the respect of my peers, I have to produce, I have to be a young leader, and I have to be consistent and do things the right way. I look at it as a marathon and not really a sprint because there’s a long way.
RW: When you eventually sign your contract, you’ll get life changing money. Anything on your purchase list?
LC: I ain’t buying a damn thing. I will look at my bank account and smile and say, “Oof, that looks pretty,” but other than that, I ain’t buying anything, man. I’m going to chill and relax. Nada. My daughter will be with me, so I’ll take care of her, but that’s pretty much it.
RW: You talk about how this year will be freshman year all over again. How do you measure success for yourself in your rookie year?
LC: It’s adding value to the team. We’re in the entertainment business, and it’s about what your value is as a player. It’s not about how much time you clock in. It’s not like a 9-5 job. It’s more about what value you have to the team. Are you an appreciating asset? So, success to me is being productive and consistent.
RW: Have you started to think about brand-building and the businesses that you want to jump into yet, or are you zeroed in on the NFL?
LC: Completely locked into the NFL. I focus on the main things that got me here, which is football. The side things really distract you and take away peace from yourself. I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to focus on ball.
RW: Anyone you’re looking forward to standing across from when the time comes to play in the fall?
LC: I’m my own competition. I don’t look at other people for competition. I’m in competition with myself. Through this whole draft process, a lot of guys are competing against each other, but I look inwards for motivation.
RW: How do you want people to remember you when you eventually decide you’re done with football?
LC: The football aspect is great, but I want to be remembered as a great person, a great dad, and a great human being. I want to be a pillar for the community and a guy that did things the right way.