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TOPIC: One thing sticks out to Patriots running back Dion

One thing sticks out to Patriots running back Dion 3 months 5 days ago #179002

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”Not playing Shareef Miller Jersey ,” Lewis said Tuesday with a smirk.

Lewis is one of three Patriots starters who will be facing their former team in Sunday’s Super Bowl, along with receiver Danny Amendola and safety Patrick Chung.

All three players look back on their experiences in Philadelphia differently, but they have played their best football since being rejected by the Eagles early in their careers.

Lewis was drafted by Philadelphia in the fifth round in 2011 and played two seasons for them before he was traded to Cleveland. Amendola was among Philadelphia’s final cuts in training camp in 2009. Chung started his career in New England, spent a forgettable year with the Eagles in 2013, then returned to the Patriots in 2014.

Amendola has experienced people doubting his abilities since he entered the league as an undrafted free agent with Dallas in 2008. He signed with Philadelphia in 2009 after being cut by the Cowboys. But after eight months with the Eagles, he was released. He was signed up by the St. Louis Rams and stayed there for four seasons before signing a five-year contract with the Patriots in 2013.

This past Christmas he tweeted a picture of his framed No. 11 Eagles jersey, a gift from a friend.

”It’s in my pool room – hanging as daily motivation,” Amendola said. ”I’ve come a long way since getting the opportunity to play there. It obviously didn’t work out, so I guess I take it as a learning experience and just realize how far I’ve come.”

Chung thought he was heading for a fresh start when he signed a three-year contract with Philadelphia in 2013, but it didn’t work out under then first-year coach Chip Kelly. Chung was back in New England the next season. The decision paid off with a Super Bowl ring last season.

As for that 2013 season, Chung was coy about what he remembers about the experience.

”That’ll be between me and those people Zach Brown Jersey ,” Chung said.

Lewis said despite his success in New England winning a ring last season and leading the team this season in rushing yards (896) and rushing touchdowns (six), he has learned to stay motivated.

”Never safe. You still gotta put the work in. You still gotta get an opportunity. That’s what most of the guys in the league need – just an opportunity to compete,” Lewis said.

He said he’s matured a lot since leaving Philly.

”People look at you and kind of characterize you,” Lewis said. ”They try to tell you what they think you can do without even really knowing you. That’s kind of what I went through. I just kind of keep battling and showing people what I can do.”

As much as Lewis, Amendola and Chung have enjoyed their time in New England, they aren’t naive to how the Patriots deal with aging players. This past offseason the Patriots parted with LeGarrette Blount, who led the NFL with 18 regular-season rushing touchdowns in 2016. But he also had turned 30, long considered the age of decline for running backs.

Blount was vocal about his desire to stay in New England, but the Patriots signed Mike Gillislee. Blount took a one-year deal with the Eagles, where he has had a good season and been a leader.

Amendola restructured his contract to remain with New England this season. With Julian Edelman out for the season with a knee injury, Amendola has stepped up Devin Bush Jersey , leading the team with 196 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the playoffs.

At 32, he will also enter free agency this summer.

Lewis is in the second year of a two-year deal and becomes an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. Chung, who turns 31 this summer, is signed through 2018.

Chung said he’s always admired Belichick’s no-nonsense approach to football. When reports came out about Belichick possibly considering retirement, Chung joked that his future was linked to that of his coach.

”When he’s done, I’ll be done, too,” Chung said.

Lewis said he will have no regrets if this is in his final season in New England.

”Just being here and learning what it takes to be a champion,” Lewis said. ”I think that’s something I’ll always remember, regardless of what happens. I’ll just cherish my moments here.”

The Patriots gave him – and Amendola and Chung – what they’ve always wanted: an opportunity.

”Nobody’s really given me a chance, and these guys gave me a chance. So that definitely means a lot to me Diontae Johnson Jersey ,” Lewis said. ”So I’ll always just remember what I’ve learned here. And hopefully I’ll still be here.”




THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Los Angeles Rams are trying to get to where the Atlanta Falcons were last season — the Super Bowl.

That’s a lofty goal for the NFL’s youngest team. But Los Angeles (11-5) can take its first step in that direction when hosting the Falcons (10-6) in an NFC wild-card game Saturday night.

In the Rams’ second year in their return to L.A., they will host a playoff game at the storied Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum for the first time since the 1978 season.

Atlanta returns to the playoffs after last season’s painful loss in Super Bowl LI. The Falcons led the New England Patriots by 25 points before succumbing, 34-28 in overtime.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn isn’t expecting that meltdown to haunt his squad.

“I love the resiliency and the toughness of this team,” Quinn said. “When you’ve been through some of the fire together, you come out the other side stronger as a brotherhood.”

The Rams have done little wrong under rookie head coach Sean McVay. At 31, McVay is the league’s youngest coach and is directing its most prolific offense.

Behind a unit averaging nearly 30 points per game, McVay helped flip a team that went 4-12 last season to NFC West champions and back in the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

Quarterback Jared Goff has gone from bust to being accurate and efficient. Running back Todd Gurley churned out a league-best 2,093 yards from scrimmage and 19 touchdowns.

With wide receivers Sammy Watkins, Roberts Woods and rookie Cooper Kupp, there’s no shortage of targets for Goff to aim his passes.

But the Falcons have a core of players and the motivation from that painful Super Bowl lesson tucked away. They are older and maybe wiser Justin Layne Jersey , but the No. 3-seeded Rams, aren’t fretting over their lack of postseason reps.

“I don’t think it is a concern,” McVay said. “When I say that, I have a whole lot of respect for experience and what that does and the value that it provides. But I do think that we’ve got a confident group, a mature group for a young football team.”

How Goff responds to the oversized setting is among the red flags the team’s detractors mention. But after going 0-7 in his rookie year, Goff has thrown for 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions this year in leading a balanced attack. He seems at-ease with the task at hand.

“I think more than anything it’s a big game,” Goff said. “I think that’s what it boils down to and we do have experience with that stuff.

“We played a big game in Seattle a couple weeks ago. We played a big game two weeks ago against Tennessee. We played a big game against the Eagles … we had a bunch of big games against top teams this year and so I think that experience will translate mostly to this game.”

Quinn is familiar with Goff’s offensive coordinator, Matt LaFleur. He held that same position with the Falcons last year.

“What I have been most impressed by is you have to defend the entire field,” Quinn said of LaFleur’s approach. “When you have a team that has the run, has the play-action, the quarterback-boot and stuff Benny Snell Jr. Jersey , it makes it real difficult and challenging to defend.”

The sixth-seeded Falcons will lean on savvy quarterback Matt Ryan (20 touchdowns, 12 interceptions) and a deep running attack spearheaded by Devonta Freeman (865 yards, seven touchdowns).

Although Julio Jones has had an inconsistent season, he remains dangerous with 1,444 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

While McVay is the youthful vibe of offense, it’ll be the sage Wade Phillips, the Rams’ 70-year-old defensive coordinator doing his best to stop the Falcons.

All of this will be played out in the historic L.A. Coliseum venue with an expected 70,000 on hand to toast the Rams return to the playoffs in L.A. The Rams left Los Angeles and relocated to St. Louis after the 1994 season, an absence that lasted until 2016.

“It’s definitely a cool thing,” Goff said. “After football has been gone here for so long and we came back year two and being able to bring a playoff game to the Coliseum is very cool.”
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