"In the Super Bowl, I was just numb," he said.
He said he did not receive any promotional or advertising opportunities afterward, other than a few autograph-signing events. And he didn't get much time to reap the benefits of being a local sports hero, either.
At the Pro Bowl in Hawaii the next year, he said, his agent called to tell him that the Houston Texans had selected him in an expansion draft after the Ravens left him on a list of unprotected players.
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"I'm a Maryland guy. I went to the University of Maryland. Once I left Maryland, my heart just dropped. I was on top of the world. Then, boom, go to Texas," said Jermaine Lewis, who was out of the NFL three years after the Super Bowl.
In August 2011, a Baltimore County police officer tased him, saying he was resisting arrest, after police allege he had been swerving and had run over a volunteer fire company sign. He was charged with resisting arrest and driving recklessly. Maryland court records show he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge: failure to stop after an accident that included unattended property damage.
In February 2012, he was arrested after police said he was driving with his 4-year-old son unrestrained in the front seat. He was charged with driving with a suspended and revoked license, and failing to secure a child under 8 with a seat belt. He pleaded guilty in August to driving a motor vehicle with a revoked license and was not prosecuted on the other two charges, court records show.
He was ordered to serve 30 days in jail, according to court records.
Jermaine Lewis now lives in a two-story Reisterstown home with his wife and children, relying on savings. He hopes to get back into the workforce, he said, and be a part of a team again surrounded by co-workers.He thinks back to what could have been.
"I wish I would've been building businesses instead of always focusing on football," he said. "I wish I could have had something that I could fall back on that was already in place. That's the only regret I have."
Last week, for the first time, he watched his famous kick return replayed on television as part of the buildup to Sunday's Super Bowl. He saw himself shuffle behind his blocker, find a hole and explode to the end zone. That magical moment is something the Super Bowl gave him — and will stay with him.
"That's the main thing you hoped for when you're playing football is to win the ultimate prize," he said. "That's an accomplishment I'm proud of for my kids. I want them to be proud of something. They can say, 'My dad did this.' "
Baltimore Sun reporter Childs Walker contributed to this article.