Damione Lewis embraces new team

FOXBOROUGH — Patriots defensive lineman Damione Lewis knew he was in a unique situation his rookie season. He was a first round pick out of Miami by the St. Louis Rams in 2001 and was part of the team’s ride to Super Bowl XXXVI against the Patriots.

He was injured an unable to play in the championship that ended in a loss for the Rams and missing out on the experience has stayed with him.

“It was a hard lesson learned,” Lewis told reporters today. “They tell you the Super Bowl will spoil you if you go your rookie year. … I been chasing that dream ever since it seems like.”

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Lewis (6-foot-2, 301 pounds) is a defensive lineman who signed with the Patriots last week. Lewis played with the Rams through 2005 and then signed as a free agent with the Carolina Panthers in 2006, where he played last season.

Lewis said he is excited to join former Miami teammate Vince Wilfork and is going to be more of a leader by example in these first weeks and follow the lead of those who have been here.

“I think leadership is more of a personality trait,” he said. “I don’t think it’s something that you can force yourself into. Right now I don’t consider myself a leader on this team. … You have too many people here who have been here and been through the system and been successful. …”