FOXBORO -- The Patriots backfield is more crowded than Route 128 at rush hour, and that's even as Rex Burkhead deals with a rib injury that kept him out of last Sunday's game against the Texans. 

But while Mike Gillislee and James White have clear and defined roles, and the snaps that go with that, Dion Lewis sits and waits.

"It's tough," Lewis told me Wednesday, "but I just come every day, and try to work hard like I always do. My time will come. I know what kind of player I am. My teammates know what type of player I am. I'll get my chance and show people what I can do, but I don't really have no control over that."


Lewis has gotten just 32 snaps on offense through the first three weeks of the season, and 12 touches. It appears as though Lewis is an afterthought, and he's not keen on being labeled as such, or feeling that way. That's made the first three weeks of the season very tough to watch.

"I want to be out there making plays," he said. "It's definitely tough -- a tough situation. I love playing football. I don't like to watch. It's tough. Things will work out. Eventually they'll work out, and when I get my chance, you'll see a lot of special things."

Lewis dazzled the hell out of us to start 2015, going from a bubble player in training camp to one of the most explosive players in the league through the first 6 1/2 games. Then came the knee injury and a setback at the start of last year. Even when Lewis returned at the tail end of 2016, he admitted the knee wasn't right. Now, the freshly minted 27-year-old (Wednesday was his birthday) wants to show he's all the way back.


That's why trade rumors that have involved him aren't worrisome at all. In fact, you could say he'd embraced that opportunity were it to come.

"It's not a distraction," he sad. "I don't really focus on that, but obviously teams know I'm not playing and they know I'm a good player, That's probably where that comes from. I have no control over that. The only thing I can control is how hard I work. That's what I do."

Lewis is in the last year of his contract. Hard for him to get paid sitting idle in the garage. He wants to run. Maybe it's here, maybe it's somewhere else, but that much is pretty clear.