Last week, Alex Lewis, being of sound mind and body, walked into a local Floyd's 99 Barbershop and asked for a mullet.
"Is this for Halloween?" the barber asked the Ravens guard, his brown hair down to his shoulders.
"No," Lewis said. "This is for life."
Lewis has missed the Ravens’ past two games after suffering a serious-looking neck injury in Week 6 against the Tennessee Titans that required him to be carted off the field on a stretcher. He returned to practice Thursday, and after Friday's practice, he said he "felt good out there, running around fast, playing fast."
But of greater interest was not what Lewis could do Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Rather, it was his new ’do. The business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back look was a “happy middle” on the mullet spectrum, he said, somewhere between Joe Dirt — David Spade's janitor character in the 2001 film of the same name — and former NFL linebacker Brian Bosworth.
“She hooked it up nice,” he said of his barber.
The mullet is not only practical during competition — strands of hair no longer fall into his eyeline, he said — but also represents a worldview. “It speaks freedom,” he said. His alarm clock is the screech of a bald eagle, an aural experience he compared to “waking up to ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ and a drumline going.”
Former NFL star Deion Sanders once remarked, “If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you play good." Lewis was asked whether he subscribes to that philosophy.
“Well, if that's the case, I might not play that well,” he said, laughing. “So no, I don't believe in that. But, no, I feel good. It's good to be back out there.”