NFL Lincoln High San Diego City College
David Lewis, left, while he played for Tampa Bay in 1979. Photo credit: Screenshot, Mike P, via YouTube

David Lewis, a one-time San Diego Charger and Lincoln High and San Diego City College alum, died Tuesday in Tampa, Fla.

The All-Conference outside linebacker played a key role for the University of Southern California in their 1974 championship season.

Lewis, 65, also a contributor on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 1979 team that reached the NFC title game, struggled with health issues in recent years, according to Tim Tessalone, USC’s sports information director.

Lewis played for the San Diego Chargers in 1982 and Los Angeles Rams in 1983.

He was a three-year (1974-76) letterman at USC after playing football at Lincoln High and City College.

After the Trojans won the national crown in 1974, they were runners-up in the polls in 1976 when Lewis was an All-Pac-8 first team pick. In 1975, he led USC in tackles, tackles for loss and fumble recoveries.

He also played on the USC teams that won a pair of Rose Bowls (1975 and 1977) and the 1975 Liberty Bowl.

In the 1974 title game versus Notre Dame, the Trojans trailed 24-0 just prior to halftime. Lewis tackled Irish kick returner Mark McLane at the 8-yard line. The play came minutes after USC’s Anthony Davis returned the second half’s opening kickoff for a touchdown. Both helped turn the game around.

USC scored 55 unanswered points to prevail.

The Buccaneers picked Lewis with their second-round pick in the 1977 NFL Draft. He spent five years (1977-81) with the team.

The 1979 Tampa Bay squad notched 10 regular season victories after having won just seven games in the previous three seasons. The team captured the NFC Central Division title and won the first playoff game in franchise history before falling in the NFC Championship Game.

After his pro football career, Lewis enjoyed a long career as a high school football coach in Florida. He served as head coach at Tampa Catholic High from 1986-90, and remained there until his death.

Lewis, survived by his wife and a daughter, was predeceased by a son.

– City News Service