FOXBORO — Reports surfaced over the weekend that the Patriots have received multiple inquiries as to the availability of Dion Lewis.
The sixth-year running back admitted Wednesday he was aware of the trade interest, which started during the offseason and has continued into September, per a report in the Boston Herald.
“I see the same report you guys do,” Lewis said after practice on Wednesday.
Lewis seems to have slid down the depth chart and finds himself behind James White, James Gillislee and Rex Burkhead.
He appears to be healthy after undergoing multiple surgeries the past two seasons and is in the final year of a contract with a team-friendly base salary of $1.2 million, making him attractive to other teams.
“I just focus on the fact I’m here now and that’s all I really worry about,” Lewis said.
Lewis had only two carries for 9 yards and played six offensive snaps against the Chiefs in the season opener.
“It’s tough. I’m a competitor, so I want to be out there,” Lewis said. “I just come here to work hard every day, that’s all I really can do. I can’t really control how much I play, that’s on the coaches. You have to ask them that.”
Dont’a Hightower and Danny Amendola did not practice on Wednesday. The paired suffered injuries in the loss to Kansas City.
Hightower left the game with a knee injury. According to the NFL Network, the injury is an MCL sprain and the team hasn’t ruled him out yet for Sunday’s game against New Orleans. Amendola suffered a head injury and is currently in the concussion protocol. The receiver is also dealing with a knee injury.
Vincent Valentine (knee) and Matthew Slater (hamstring) were also absent for the Patriots on Wednesday. Limited in practice were Devin McCourty (groin), Marcus Cannon (ankle), Adam Butler (knee), Nate Ebner (shoulder), and Cameron Fleming (ankle). McCourty and Cannon are new additions to the injury report.
The Patriots also added defensive back Ryan Lewis to the practice squad.
One of the few bright spots for the Patriots defense in the opener was the pass rush, which produced three sacks and an additional quarterback hit on Alex Smith.
They’ll look to build on that when they face the Saints’ Drew Brees, who was sacked once and hit two other times in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.
Defensive end Trey Flowers said he’s focused on the New England defense rather than the New Orleans offense when it comes to ramping up the pass rush.
“I think it’s just about us and not necessarily about the Saints’ offense,” said Flowers, who had two sacks in Week 1. “We definitely have to stop the run initially and put them in some down and distance where they have to pass the ball.”
Brees was sacked 27 times last season. That tied for 19th in the league among quarterbacks with a minimum of 200 pass attempts.
Making it all the more impressive, Brees led the league with 673 attempts, meaning he was sacked a reasonable once every 27 times he dropped back.
Keeping the 6-foot Brees in the pocket is the key as he still has good mobility despite being 38 and in his 17th season.
“He’s able to make plays with his legs,” Flowers said. “He’s a guy who isn’t as tall stature-wise at quarterback, so anytime you can get some pressure in his face and bodies around him and make him look over his offensive linemen, that’s the kind of position you want to put him in.”