BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots let Dion Lewis run to the Titans in the offseason. Now they have to try to slow down their former running back Sunday afternoon in Tennessee.

With a crowded backfield that included James White, Rex Burkhead and rookie Sony Michel, the Patriots didn’t make much of an effort to re-sign the 28-year-old. So after spending three seasons as a dynamic playmaker behind Tom Brady, Lewis cashed in over the offseason by inking a four-year, $19.8 million deal with the Titans.

Lewis doesn’t hold any ill-will toward the Patriots. After all, Bill Belichick gave him another shot at NFL stardom after he struggled to make a roster for four years after being drafted in the fifth round in 2011. Lewis was a big part of New England’s Super Bowl-winning season in 2016, and he’ll forever be grateful for that opportunity.

But come kickoff on Sunday, the crafty running back won’t be thinking of his former teammates as friends anymore. At that point, they’ll become an enemy that Lewis will be trying to juke out of their socks.

“I’ve got a lot of friends there, but there’s no friends on Sunday,” Lewis told The Athletic’s Jeff Howe (subscription required) on Wednesday.

Lewis continues to be a feisty force for Tennessee, wracking up nearly 600 yards of offense (339 rushing, 259 receiving) to go with a pair of touchdowns. He’s carried the Titans’ stagnant offense, but the shifty back thinks he can be even better.

“I don’t think I’ve played my best football yet this year,” said Lewis. “I make plays, but I expect to do that. I’m just real hard on myself. I know I can still play a lot better. We’ve got eight more games left. I think this second half of the season will definitely be big. We can do some good things out there.”

Lewis has come on strong in his last two games, rushing for 153 yards while adding 10 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots defense will certainly have their hands full as they try to keep Lewis in check on Sunday.

Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-Titans clash at 1 p.m. on WBZ-TV — the home of the New England Patriots. Coverage begins Friday night at 7 p.m. with Patriots All Access and kicks off Sunday morning with Patriots GameDay at 11:30 a.m. After the game, you can catch Bill Belichick and Tom Brady’s press conferences LIVE on Patriots 5th Quarter on myTV38!

 

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