It was arguably the feel-good story of the year, at least in the northeast. After spending the last two seasons on the sidelines because of injury, running back Dion Lewis – then a free agent – signed a reserve/future contract with the soon-to-be world champion New England Patriots. The 25-year old was a relative unknown but became the team’s starting running back over the course of his first offseason in Foxboro.
Once the regular season started, Lewis turned into a star as one of the most electrifying running backs in the NFL. After just three games, he even signed a two-year contract extension with the Patriots. Unfortunately, though, Lewis tore his ACL in week 9 against the Washington Redskins, ending his spectacular season.
Because of his injury, the Patriots’ entire offensive output suffered: the running game was never the same and the passing game lost one of its most valuable and versatile members. Therefore, with the team’s focus on to the 2016 season, Jeff Howe’s report that Lewis' recovery process is going well and that he is on pace to be physically ready for training camp is definitely encouraging:
Dion Lewis’ rehab is moving along smoothly, per source. At this rate, he’ll be physically ready for training camp. Tore ACL in Week 9.
New England will open its training camp in late July and seeing Lewis on the field at that point would be a natural boost for the offense, which faces some uncertainty surrounding its skill position players: the team could be without running backs LeGarrette Blount and Steven Jackson, who both enter unrestricted free agency, while wide receiver Danny Amendola and tight end Scott Chandler are potential cap casualties.
Seeing Lewis doing well at this stage of his rehabilitation is therefore certainly good news, not just for the team but for the player himself. In the past, he has shown the ability to return from serious injury after missing all of 2013 and 2014 because of a broken foot and its after-effects. Hopefully, Dion Lewis will be able to do the same in 2016.