Dion Lewis made a lot of dazzling moves in the three seasons after walking through the doors at One Patriot Place back in the winter of 2015.
His one wrong move, however, led to him walking out of Gillette Stadium following the 2017 season.
Despite receiving a competitive offer from the Patriots, with whom he was a focal point of the offense and special teams, Lewis chose to sign a four-year pact with the Tennessee Titans.
Following a Titans victory over New England in 2018, Lewis, who was often as elusive with the media as he was to defenders, was front and center with reporters, taking the opportunity to label the Patriots cheap.
It was a bad look and bad sound bite. Particularly bad considering it was New England that gave Lewis a shot at redemption after the 2011 fifth-round pick had two injury-filled, nondescript seasons in Philadelphia followed by unproductive stops in Cleveland and Indianapolis.
The Patriots signed Lewis to a futures contract and he blossomed. New England even rewarded him with an extension after three games and stuck with him despite a knee injury and two subsequent surgeries that cut short his 2015 season and also delayed his 2016 debut.
He made the decision to sign with Tennessee (four years, $20 million) after his most productive season in 2017: 1,110 yards from scrimmage and another 570 in return yards.
After two seasons in Nashville, where he compiled 1,290 yards from scrimmage playing second fiddle to Derrick Henry, Lewis was released. His four-year, $20 million deal became, in essence, a two-year, $10 million deal.
Lewis was back in the news this week because he signed a one-year, $1.5 million contract with the Giants. If he sticks in New York, his three-year income will total approximately $11.5 million.
The three-year offer Lewis received from the Patriots was for significantly more than $11.5 million, according to a league source familiar with the numbers.
Can’t blame Lewis for taking the Tennessee deal, but why the shots at the Patriots for being cheap?
New England offered a lucrative deal to a player who would likely still be a central figure in this offense, considering how the Patriots like to spread the wealth with their backs.
Instead, he spent two years in Henry’s shadow and now will get only the scraps left behind by Saquon Barkley in New York.
Other thoughts …
▪ In the frenzied aftermath of the Patriots’ pulsating 27-24 victory over the Steelers Dec. 17, 2017, I turned a corner in the visitors’ locker room and came face to face with Tom Brady. Still possessing the laser focus he displayed during his fourth-quarter pitch-and-catch clinic with Rob Gronkowski, the quarterback threw up a fist bump and said, “Nice game, babe.”
For the record, he calls everybody “babe.” Flummoxed, I blurted out, “Uh, thanks.”
It might have been the single dumbest response in the history of dumb responses. What the heck had I done? Weeks later, when I mentioned to Brady how my response still bothered me, he laughed and said, “No, don’t worry about it, everybody had a good game that day.’’
▪ Speaking of Gronkowski, saw where the greatest tight end of his generation literally dropped in on the competition and won the WWE 24-7 title during “Wrestlemania” Sunday night, and it felt incredibly sad.
▪ Will miss the always entertaining (and loud) training-camp battles between offensive lineman Ted Karras and linebacker Elandon Roberts, two of the toughest guys and hardest-hitting Patriots in recent memory. Both signed with the Dolphins.
▪ The NFL announced its All-Decade team for the 2010s, which was loaded with Patriots, including Brady and Bill Belichick, both of whom made the cut for the second straight decade. Gronkowski, Stephen Gostkowski, Logan Mankins, Chandler Jones, and Cordarrelle Patterson also made the cut. That neither Matthew Slater nor Devin McCourty is on the squad is ludicrous, however.