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Titans: How Logan Ryan helped recruit former Patriots Malcolm Butler, Dion Lewis

Titans cornerback Logan Ryan played a huge role in convincing his former Patriots teammates, cornerback Malcolm Butler and running back Dion Lewis, to sign with Tennessee.

“He mentioned he just bought a house, and he’s only been here for a year,” Lewis said during his introductory press conference Thursday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, “so to buy a house that quickly, you really must love the area you’re in. So that definitely meant a lot to me. And Malcolm came too, so that’s another big one.”


Titans general manager Jon Robinson, a former Patriots personnel executive, continues to import talent from his previous employer. The Titans signed Butler to a five-year, $61.25 million contract with $30 million guaranteed, an NFL source told The Tennessean, one year after Ryan became the team’s marquee free agent acquisition.

Lewis inked a four-year contract worth $20 million, with $3 million in incentives, an NFL source confirmed, which places him among the top 10 highest-paid players at his position.

“Most definitely more security,” Butler, originally an undrafted free agent out of West Alabama, said about his big payday. “But when I first got in the NFL, I got my first check, I thought I was the richest man in the world, because I know where I come from. The money is what it is, but I love football more than I love money. It ain’t about the money. I love this game.”

Aside from the money, Butler said he chose the Titans because they have a good young quarterback in Marcus Mariota, because Ryan is here, and because he looked up to Steve McNair when he was a kid — they both grew up in Mississippi.

As for what Ryan told him?

“He just said, ‘C’mon, man, let’s get this reunion back together, man. The same one-two punch. Me, you and (Adoree’) Jackson,’” Butler said. “Logan always has been a good teammate to me, and I don’t think he would just sit there and tell me anything, so I believed him and I believe in this organization.”

Butler said the trio are all “No. 1 corners,” because they’re on the same team.

The Titans' pass defense ranked 25th out of 32 teams in yards allowed last season.

Tennessee gave up 27 touchdowns, tied for seventh-most in the NFL, and recorded 12 interceptions, which tied for 18th.


Butler had 60 tackles, two interceptions, 12 pass breakups, a career-high three forced fumbles and a sack last season.

In 59 career regular-season games, 48 of them starts, he has recorded 209 tackles, eight interceptions, 50 pass breakups, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and two sacks.

Butler recalled his experience playing with Ryan for three seasons in New England, and said the familiarity should only help.

“Me and Logan together man, I got the fast guy, he got the biggest guy,” Butler said. “We’re going to communicate when the bunches come up. We’ve just got great communication and great chemistry over the three years we played together. He’s a good friend of mine.”

He’s thrilled that Lewis agreed to sign, as well.

“Most definitely,” Butler said. “It’s like the first day of school, but you’ve got two brothers with you at the new school. We’ve just got to fit in, make our way around, be productive players on and off the field and lead by example.”

Titans newrunning back  Dion Lewis addresses the media
Titans newrunning back Dion Lewis addresses the media at Saint Thomas Sports Park Thursday, March 15, 2018 in Nashville, Tenn. (Photo: George Walker IV / Tennessean.com)
Lewis had 896 rushing yards and six touchdowns on 180 carries last season. He added 32 catches for 214 yards and three scores, giving him more than 1,100 yards from scrimmage. Lewis appeared in all 16 games — starting eight — for the first time in his career, which had been sidetracked by leg and knee injuries.

Lewis dismissed the idea that the Titans are trying to recreate the environment in New England in an effort to duplicate the Patriots’ success, even though a Super Bowl championship remains the ultimate goal.

“I wouldn’t say that. They’re trying to bring good football players here," Lewis said. "Good, smart football players. There’s a lot of carryover, but at the same time, they’re just trying to get good, talented players to win and I’m just happy that they thought of me as one of those players to help.”

Lewis said he’s excited to share touches with running back Derrick Henry, because he believes their styles will complement each other, and that Robinson made him feel comfortable and wanted in Tennessee.

Ryan's input helped seal his decision.

“He just had nothing but great things to say about this city, this organization, Jon Robinson,” Lewis said, “and Logan is a guy that I know how hard he works, because I worked with him in the past in New England, so I know what type of player and competitor he is. So when he had nothing but good things to say about the city, that definitely gave me a lot of confidence.”



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