NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans running back Dion Lewis wants to make it clear – he enjoyed his time with the New England Patriots, and appreciates everything they did for him.
"I have great respect for everybody in that organization," Lewis said. "They helped me become the player I am now, the person I am now. I have great respect for everybody in that building.
"So there's definitely no hard feelings – they helped me more than anybody helped me in my whole career. I am nothing but grateful. I learned a lot of things that I will carry with me my whole career that has helped me be a better player."
Don't expect to see Lewis shaking a lot of hands or hugging any Patriots before or during Sunday's game at Nissan Stadium, however.
He's very clear on that as well.
"When the game starts, I have no friends (there)," Lewis said. "Only my (Titans) teammates are my friends on Sundays. I'll talk to (my former teammates) after the game, but as far as the pregame, I don't do that.
"After the game, we are cool. But when the game starts, I have no friends."
What a difference 10 months makes. In January, Lewis was a member of the Patriots, and he made life miserable for the Titans, racking up 141 total yards in that contest. Lewis led the Patriots in rushing last season.
In March, the Titans signed Lewis in free agency, and he's a big part of their offense. Lewis leads the Titans in rushing (92 carries, 339 yards, 1 touchdown) and he's second on the team in receptions (33) and receiving yards (259).
On Monday Night Football, Lewis had 122 scrimmage yards in the team's win over the Cowboys.
As much as he's trying to treat it like just another game, Lewis said he's looking forward to facing his old teammates. He's hoping to give them trouble.
"They practiced against me, so they know me," Lewis, who played from 2015-17 with the Patriots, said with a smile. "But they never had to tackle me in a real game, though.
"They are a great defense – they have a lot of great players on the team. They are well coached, and they are disciplined. They are going to be ready and know everything we want to do. But we are going to see if they can tackle me now.''
New Titans RB Dion Lewis signs his contract and is introduced to reporters at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
TitansOnline.com looks at the NFL career of former New England Patriots RB Dion Lewis. (AP Photos)