Bill Belichick Explains Dion Lewis’ ‘Build-Up Process’ Ahead Of Potential Return

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FOXBORO, Mass. — Dion Lewis will have another chance to make his 2016 season debut this Sunday at Levi’s Stadium.

Lewis was added to the New England Patriots’ 53-man roster this past Saturday but was inactive for New England’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks the following day.

Patriots coach Bill Belichick has yet to reveal if the running back will play this weekend against the San Francisco 49ers, but he dedicated a portion of his Wednesday news conference to describing the difficulties of transitioning back into football activities after a lengthy absence such as Lewis’.

“I think any time a player’s coming back from missing a significant amount of time, there’s a certain build-up process.” Belichick said. “Sometimes that accelerates, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it just stays on a straight-line course. It’s hard to predict how that’s going to go. There’s a big difference between training and playing football. You can run around a track or up and down a hill, do 10,000 pushups and all that. That’s great. But that’s not being out there with 21 other guys playing football.

“Football is football is football. Training is an important part and component of playing football, but playing football is playing football, especially at this time of year where you’re halfway through the season and teams have quite a bit of scheme in, both us and our opponents. So we’re not just looking at some basic stuff (like) at the beginning of the year or preseason, which is what preseason is — very basic. We’re at a whole different point.

“So how does that (player) get acclimated? What’s the right time? … To answer your question, we just keep going.”

Lewis has not suited up for a game since tearing his ACL in Week 9 of last season. He returned to practice Oct. 27 and was removed from the physically unable to perform list this past weekend.

Belichick on Monday said Lewis was healthy enough to play against Seattle.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images

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