Josh Lewin has Sundays off now.
Well, unless he's calling a game involving UCLA. Or the New York Mets. The Bruins opened their season against Texas A&M on a Sunday and Lewin tries to make it to every Mets game he can during fall Sundays whenever UCLA's schedule allows.
But there will be no more NFL games for Lewin after the Los Angeles Chargers replaced the veteran broadcaster over the summer following 12 years as the team's radio voice, part of a widespread purge of employees with ties to San Diego.
"It's one of those things where at first when the Chargers things was aborted, I kind of kicked and screamed and punched the pillow for a few days," Lewin said Saturday, "but I think everyone has moved on very nicely."
Lewin, 48, acknowledged that he would like to have called Chargers games for at least one more season as part of the team's move to Los Angeles but praised the job being done by his replacement, Matt "Money" Smith. He's also happy to enjoy a little more sleep and a little less travel.
Lewin has filled some of his extra time with a new NFL podcast called Blitz & Giggles that's produced in a partnership with Westwood One. It's a lighthearted show previewing games while mixing in pop culture references.
"I tell people it's a lot more Jon Stewart than John Madden," said Lewin, who hopes to turn the podcast into a syndicated radio show. "It's a lot of basic information and making fun of the Bears and the Jets, basically."
While there's no more three-team-in-three-day craziness for Lewin, his travel itineraries remain packed. He bolted the Rose Bowl after UCLA defeated Texas A&M earlier this month to make a red-eye flight to New York so that he could be at Citi Field in time for the Mets' afternoon Labor Day game against the Philadelphia Phillies.
It was an adrenaline-fueled flight after the Bruins had rallied from a 34-point deficit to beat the Aggies.
"It was probably somewhere over New Mexico where I finally just kind of breathed and said, 'What the hell just happened there?' " Lewin said, adding that it was one of the wildest games he had called. "The Chargers for years have played that kind of game and come up just short. I call them the Lords of Almost. They seem to play a lot of exciting games and break your heart and that's the first one I've done in a real long time that had the true happy ending like that."
Lewin considered trying to get back to New York on Monday for the Mets' game against the Atlanta Braves before realizing that it was unlikely he could make a midnight flight out of the Bay Area following UCLA's late start against Stanford.
"As soon as they announced the 7:30 kickoff, I'm thinking, well, the chances are like 10% that I make that flight," Lewin said. "So now I guess kind of the side benefit [of no more Chargers games] is now I don't have to kill myself to get back for a Mets game necessarily, I can just kind of pretend there's an NFL game to do and not kill myself getting back."
UCLA's defense got two of its top players back against Stanford after linebacker Kenny Young and safety Jaleel Wadood returned from the head trauma that had sidelined them last week against Memphis.
Tailback Soso Jamabo played for the first time since the Bruins' season opener after being sidelined by an undisclosed injury the last two weeks.
But UCLA was missing defensive end Jaelan Phillips (ankle) and linebacker Breland Brandt (concussion). The Bruins also played the first half without defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa, who had to sit out as punishment for a targeting penalty in the fourth quarter last week against Memphis.
Making his point
Phillips joined the growing crowd of athletes critical of President Trump on social media Saturday, tweeting, "If you're a Trump supporter at this point you really are just ignorant. Regardless of political viewpoints, that dude is a grade A [rear end]."