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Titans running back Dion Lewis sings different tune about Patriots this time around

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The ex-Patriot spoke fondly about his former team on Wednesday. That wasn’t always the case.

New England Patriots v Tennessee Titans Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

During last year’s free agency, Dion Lewis left the New England Patriots to sign a four-year $20 million contract with the Tennessee Titans. Almost exactly eight months later, Lewis and his former team met again — albeit not exactly under positive circumstances for the Patriots: the Titans blew the eventual world champions out with a final score of 34-10, in a game that was not as close as the final score might indicate.

Following the contest, Lewis had some harsh words for the team with which he spent the three seasons between 2015 and 2017. “Hell yeah it’s personal,” the 28-year-old said after the game during which he registered a combined 22 touches for 68 yards. Obviously referencing unsuccessful contract negotiations with the Patriots, he added that “that’s what happens when you go cheap. You get your ass kicked.”

Fast forward to this week, and Lewis is singing a different tune about the Patriots as the two clubs kicked off their two days of joint training camp practices on Wednesday. Pointing out that it apparently was all just “fun and games” and “old news” anyway, he went on to praise New England and speak highly about the relationships he built during his brief time with the organization.

“I still love those guys. It was fun seeing those guys today. It still feels like I’m still there. The relationship I’ve built with those guys has been great. I love everyone on that team,” Lewis told reporters after yesterday’s practice. “I’m just happy I’m here, trying to get better, going against a Super Bowl-winning team.”

While Lewis was not part of that team last year, he still enjoyed a successful first season in Tennessee. Serving in his usual role as a versatile receiving back, he ranked second on the Titans in both carries and receptions, and gained a combined 917 yards from scrimmage — all while also getting some form of revenge against the Patriots. Lewis, however, did not want to get into too much detail about that game yesterday.

Instead, he pointed out that his time in New England still has an impact on him to this day — especially the things he learned from James White: “I asked James questions literally every single day. We sat right next to each other in meetings,” said Lewis. “He’s one of the smartest football players I’ve ever played with, so I’m just trying to take what I learned from him in the past and try to put that into my game.”

“I have a great bond with those guys that I’ll never forget,” Lewis continued when speaking about his ex-teammates. “Probably the greatest group of running backs I’ve ever been around. We’re all still close. We all still talk every day, so it’s just great to go out there and see those guys. […] I’m proud of everything they’ve done.”