Today marks 33 days until the New England Patriots kickoff the 2016 season, so we’re continuing our summer-long profile series by taking a look at the wearer of the No. 33 jersey, spark plug running back Dion Lewis.
Size: 5-foot-8, 195 pounds
NFL experience: Three seasons
2015 stats: 234 rushing yards (4.8 yards per carry), two rushing touchdowns; 36 receptions, 388 receiving yards, two touchdowns
Selected in the fifth round by the Philadelphia Eagles back in 2011, Lewis amassed 192 total yards on 39 touches during two years with the Eagles. In the 2013 offseason, the Eagles spun Lewis to the Cleveland Browns for linebacker Emmanuel Acho, but a fractured fibula suffered in training camp ruined Lewis’ 2013 season. The Browns cut Lewis loose at the end of 2014 training camp, from which point he joined the Indianapolis Colts for a brief spell before being cut once again.
The Patriots scooped Lewis up on Christmas Eve later that year, signing him to a future/reserve contract. Lewis turned out to be the story of training camp in 2015, forcing his way onto the 53-man roster and becoming an integral part of the Patriots’ offense. Starting for the first time in his career, and playing in an NFL game for the first time in two years, Lewis totalled 120 yards from scrimmage in the 2015 season opener; it was a sign of things to come.
Recent installments in the series:
Before tragically tearing his ACL in early November, Lewis had registered 622 yards from scrimmage on just 85 touches. He was truly a revelation for the Patriots’ backfield, providing the lightning to LeGarrette Blount’s thunder. The Patriots were not the same after Lewis went down; the air seemed heavier in Gillette Stadium as Lewis limped off the field that day against the Washington Redskins, consoled by his teammates and coaches.
Right now, Lewis is residing on the PUP list so he hasn’t practiced yet in Patriots training camp. It is looking possible that Lewis will start 2016 on the PUP list. If that happens, expect James White to see an expanded role and a guy like Donald Brown or D.J. Foster to have increased chances of making the final roster. But here’s to hoping that Lewis will be at full strength before Week 1.
Be sure to stop by Musket Fire tomorrow as we mark 32 days until the Patriots open 2016 by profiling the owner of the No. 32 jersey, star safety Devin McCourty.