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Emotional Titans RB Dion Lewis Thankful, Motivated

Posted Mar 15, 2018

With family members watching from inside the auditorium at Saint Thomas Sports Park, new Titans running back Dion Lewis got emotional on several occasions Thursday as he talked about his journey.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – New Titans running back Dion Lewis is thankful, and plenty motivated.

If you don’t believe it, just watch the video of his introductory press conference in Tennessee.

With family members watching from inside the auditorium at Saint Thomas Sports Park, Lewis got emotional on several occasions Thursday as he talked about his journey.

“A lot of things went through my mind,” Lewis said afterward. “I don’t really talk much, so being in there and looking around, having everything I’ve been through run through my mind … it caused me to get emotional.

“When you get hurt like I did earlier in my career, and then you are out of the league for a year. ... The odds of you being in the league after all of that are slim. Thinking about all that, and everything else I’ve been through, it means a lot. It means a lot to be here. And I am always going to fight back.”

Lewis, who signed with the Titans earlier in the day after agreeing to terms on a contract with the team earlier in the week, thanked the Patriots at the start of his presser.

Then he said he’s happy to be with the Titans, where he’ll work alongside running back Derrick Henry under offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur.

“It is a great situation,” Lewis said of the Titans. “I love the coaching staff. I am excited to work with Henry. He’s a great back. He’s a big back. I think me and him together, we’ll work well together – two different style guys but both very hard to tackle.”

Lewis said he he’s coming to Tennessee to compete, and he said he’s used to sharing the football with other backs.

“I think it will be a huge challenge for defenses,” Lewis said of the one-two punch with Henry. “You have a guy a lot bigger than me (in Henry), and then you have a guy like me who is quick and can break tackles, too. So I definitely think it will keep the defenses on their toes with who is in the game. He is hard to tackle, but when I get in the game you can’t think I am easy to tackle because I am not. I think we’ll be able to work together and use each other’s skill set to benefit each other.”

Lewis said he’s very familiar with quarterback Marcus Mariota, and is looking forward to playing with him.

The 5-foot-8 Lewis is known for his quickness, and his ability to catch the football out of the backfield. He proved that during his playing days with the Patriots.

In the last eight games of the 2017 season, Lewis led the NFL in rushing yards (625), with an average of 5.12 yards per carry. Compared to all backs with 150 or more rushing attempts, his per-carry average of 4.98 yards led the NFL in 2017. Lewis, who signed with New England in 2015, led the Patriots with 896 rushing yards on 180 carries (5.0 average) in 2017, with six touchdowns. He had a pair of 100-yard games in 2017 – vs Buffalo (129) and Miami (112).

In his career, which also includes stops with the Eagles, Browns and Colts, Lewis has 1,584 rushing yards, with 10 touchdowns, on 329 carries. Lewis has caught 88 passes for 717 yards and five touchdowns in his career.

But the road in the NFL wasn’t always easy for Lewis, who played collegiately at Pittsburgh. He entered the league in 2011 as a fifth-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles, but didn’t get a lot of opportunities. He was traded to the Browns in 2013, and after suffering a leg injury in the preseason he was placed on season-ending injured reserve. After being released in 2014, he spent a week with the Colts, but didn’t play in a game.

With the Patriots, Lewis tore his ACL in 2015, and he had a setback in his recovery a year later that cost him the first half of the 2016 season. Then came his big rise, which sparked his emotions on Thursday. He recalled his days coming out of high school, when only a handful of schools offered him scholarships.

“Nobody ever wanted me, and that’s why I am the person I am today,” Lewis said. “Being doubted your whole life, using that (as motivation). … But no matter how bad things may be at the time, I always believe in myself. I have overcome a lot of things. No matter how bad things get, I know with the faith I have and the belief I have in myself, I can always turn things around.”

Lewis said he’s ready to give his all to the Titans.

“It is good to have people believe in you,” he said. “I am going to continue to work hard to prove people wrong who ever doubted me, called me too little, not fast enough, not strong enough. So I just use all that as motivation. This is just the beginning for me.”