NASHVILLE — As the Titans and Patriots headed for the air conditioning after Wednesday’s joint practice, a handful of players hung around in the sweltering heat.
The group included Patriots running backs Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, and James White, as well as Titans tailback Dion Lewis.
In the middle of the conversation, Brandon Bolden dropped by and hip-bumped Lewis.
Safe to say the Pats running backs are still cool with their ex-teammate.
“I have a great bond with those guys that I’ll never forget,” Lewis said. “(It’s) probably the greatest group of running backs I’ve ever been around. We’re all still close. We all still talk every day, so it’s just great to go out there and see those guys. I’m proud of everything they’ve done.”
Lewis, who reveled in the Titans’ 34-10 drubbing of the Patriots last season, kept it positive in Wednesday’s post-practice interview. He specifically mentioned his friendship with James White.
“I learned a lot from James,” he said. “I asked James questions literally every single day. We sat right next to each other in meetings. He’s one of the smartest football players I’ve ever played with, so I’m just trying to take what I learned from him in the past and try to put that into my game.”
White was once buried behind Lewis on the Patriots depth chart. But Lewis’ ACL tear in Week 9 of the 2015 season thrust White into the lineup. After assuming Lewis’ duties, White said, “You just have to be yourself, you can’t be Superman and do exactly what he was doing.”
Since then, both White and Lewis have enjoyed immense success. White developed into one of the league’s top pass-catching backs, while Lewis recaptured his one-of-a-kind change-of-direction skills and landed a four-year, $20-million deal with the Titans.
Entering his second year with the organization, Lewis is battling with Derrick Henry for the No. 1 running back role. Henry remains sidelined with a calf injury, leaving most of the first-team reps to Lewis.
While Lewis and the Patriots running backs enjoyed their reunion, a group of defensive backs had some catching up to do, as well.
Titans cornerbacks Logan Ryan and Malcolm Butler spent time with many of their former teammates. Both players got their start in New England, and both eventually left in free agency for lucrative contracts with the Titans.
“It means a ton,” Ryan said. “They believed in me. They drafted me out of Rutgers. They gave me a chance to start in this league, we won some Super Bowls, worked around Hall of Fame people, saw how they worked, saw how Tom Brady got to the facility…I kind of worked it into my routine, waking up early, working hard, taking it one day at a time. Those years, I can never take for granted. They’ve molded me into what I am today.”
Patriots rookie receiver N’Keal Harry, who exited in the first half of the team’s preseason opener and did not return, felt healthy enough to attend joint practices in Tennessee.
Harry trotted onto the field with his teammates …read more
Source:: Boston Herald