Taylor Lewan could be a millionaire right now.
In a week where second-team Big 12 tackles like Lane Johnson signed eight-figure contracts, Michigan's All-American was in a Chicago hotel ballroom, answering questions about Big Ten football. And he was doing so as an unpaid college football player.
But in Lewan's mind, he still has a lot left to accomplish in college. Per MLive.com's Nick Baumgardner, he even considers his career to this point a failure:
Taylor Lewan says, to this point, his Michigan career has been a failure. No B1G titles.— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) July 25, 2013
"Failure," of course, is a matter of perspective.
Most observers would call Lewan anything but a disappointment. He started nine games as a redshirt freshman and was named a second-team Freshman All-American by College Football News. He started 13 games as a sophomore and earned second-team All-Big Ten honors. Then, last year, as a redshirt junior, he was an AP and Walter Camp first-team All-American.
So again: Failure is a matter of perspective.
Lewan considers himself this way because of team, not individual, letdowns. He's won a BCS game (the 2012 Sugar Bowl) in his tenure, but has never won his conference. He loves his school even more than most undergraduates and wants to give it what he thinks it deserves.
Many were befuddled when Lewan announced his decision to forego this 2013 NFL draft. He was seen as a surefire top-10 pick, and had he left, it's likely he would have become just that
I want to graduate. I want to improve to be an elite left tackle. I want to stand out there with my family on Senior Day. I want to get my 'M' ring. I want to lead some of these young offensive linemen. These are all things I would have been giving up if I left.
Lewan is entitled to his own opinion. On matters of himself, he's even more entitled than the rest of us. But in calling his career to this point a "failure," Lewan has said and done something that Michigan fans disagree with wholeheartedly.
And that's a first.