When the Tennessee Titans signed Dion Lewis to a four year deal worth $20 million in 2018, the expectation was for the veteran running back to bring an explosive element to the offense.
Lewis was fairly productive in 2018, totaling 917 total yards — including 59 receptions for 400 yards (both career highs).
But Lewis’ usage dramatically decreased in 2019 with the emergence of running back Derrick Henry.
Last season, Lewis touched the ball only 86 times. That was the fewest touches of his career since his injury plagued 2016 season with the New England Patriots.
Lewis rushed for 209 yards and caught 25 passes for 164 yards in 2019.
The obvious phasing out of Lewis in the Titans’ offense is why it wasn’t a surprise to see the former fifth round pick released after the season.
If Lewis, who signed with the New York Giants after his release from the Titans, has a bitter taste in his mouth when reflecting on his time in Tennessee, it wouldn’t be shocking.
But that’s actually the opposite of how Lewis feels.
Sure, it wasn’t easy for Lewis to ride the bench in Nashville. But he recently told Giants.com that he developed a great relationship with Henry and was cheering him on from the sidelines.
“The relationship we had, I wanted nothing but success for him. I was rooting for him”, said Lewis.
“We always helped each other, we were tough on each other. Those two factors made it easy for me to root for him to do well, just because we were close. I knew the type of runner he is. He’s the type of guy that needs to be in the game a lot and gets better with more carries.”
Lewis added “I understood that, and just did whatever the coaches asked me to do and whatever they thought was best for the team.”
While things clearly didn’t go Lewis’ way in Tennessee, it’s great to hear that he doesn’t harbor negative feelings toward the franchise or Henry.
It’s also obvious that Lewis is the definition of a “team first” player, and I think that’s something fans of any team can appreciate.
Featured image via Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports/Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports