Lewis: Pats 'didn't think I was good enough'

Dion Lewis is one of several ex-New England Patriots players who migrated to Tennessee to join new coach Mike Vrabel in establishing a new Titans' identity.

The jitterbug running back has been on a career-long mission to prove he belongs in the NFL. As a fifth-round pick in 2011, Lewis battled multiple career-threatening injuries to finally land a big contract this offseason, the first hefty payday of his career.

Lewis is coming off a career-best 896-yard rushing season, which included 214 yards receiving and nine total touchdowns. The 5-foot-8 running back proved last season he could be an every-down back. Yet the Pats let him walk. Lewis isn't fretting New England's decision, but it does give him another doubter to prove wrong.

"I'm happy with the decision, and this is the decision I would've made even if they did offer," Lewis told Ben Volin of the Boston Globe. "If they wanted me, they could've had me.

"But obviously, they didn't want me, they didn't think I was good enough to be there. I just had to move on and do what's best for me."

Lewis, who has been doubted his entire career, will use that perceived slight by the Patriots to keep him motivated after getting paid.

"I always carry a chip on my shoulder, always eager to prove the kind of player I am," he said, "and that's not going to change just because I got a contract. I'm self-motivated. I feel like I'm a great player and I'm always eager to show what type of player I am.

"I get more mad at myself than the coaches get mad at me. I'm extremely hard on myself and I expect a lot. And I think that I can do a lot better than I did last year.

"That's what most of my motivation comes from -- I know that I could raise my game to another level and I look forward to being able to do that here."

The Patriots weren't going to pay Lewis the type of money a team like the Titans were glad to shell out. Lewis knew this heading into free agency. Still, that will never stop a professional athlete from unearthing every motivational pebble possible.

In Tennessee, Lewis will split duties with big back Derrick Henry. In the Titans' new offense under coordinator Matt LaFleur, Lewis should have a chance to play a huge role as a dual-threat option.

That role should only grow as a tilt with the Patriots nears in November -- not that Lewis needs to face his former team to find motivation.