When New York Giants running back Dion Lewis was growing up in Albany—he moved there from Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, when he was 5—his father used to take him to watch the Giants practice at the University at Albany. “I grew up a Giants fan,” says Lewis. “Back in the day, my favorite players were Tiki Barber, Michael Strahan, Ike Hilliard and Brandon Jacobs.”
Before going pro, Lewis did his own star turn for Albany High School and Albany Academy, leading the latter to a 12-1 record in 2006. He went on to attend the University of Pittsburgh, before being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011.
Only six years later, Lewis found himself on the New England Patriots, hoisting the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LI as part of one of the greatest comebacks in sports history. He’d feature in another (losing) Super Bowl with the Pats, before moving onto the Tennessee Titans and finally, landing with his hometown team.
And this year, when the Giants’ starting running back went down with a season-ending injury in Week 2, Lewis got another chance to step up. The Giants are amazingly in first place despite a 4-7 record, and Lewis is nothing bu positive about his current team. “I love this organization,” he says. “I love being close to home.”
Saratoga Living chatted with Lewis about his Albany roots—and where he’s hiding his Super Bowl ring.
You grew up in Albany. Have you ever made it up to Saratoga for the races?
I’ve been to Saratoga a few times, but I’ve never been up there for the races, because it’s always right around when training camp starts.
Any words of wisdom handed down during your time in Albany that have stuck with you to this day?
I got a lot of motivation from my Pop Warner coaches when I was younger. They were police officers, so they were really strict with me. The Pop Warner level definitely helped me stay level-headed and become the person I am today.
What was it like winning the Super Bowl in 2017?
It’s huge! You work for that moment your whole life; you dream of that. And when you’re able to make it come true, it all comes back full circle. It’s a great accomplishment. That was my first time winning a championship at any level, so it meant a lot to me.
Do you think your team and the NFL have done a good enough job keeping you guys safe from the COVID-19 virus this year?
This is what’s going on in the world. I’m just trying to be as safe as I can and follow the protocols that the league and the NFLPA [NFL Players Association] put in place. Obviously, some people are going to get it. But the Giants are doing everything they can to make sure the players are safe.
Be honest: You wear your Super Bowl ring to the holiday dinner table, right?
Ah, no. I’ve only worn my Super Bowl ring one time, when I went to the ESPYs in 2017.
So…is it buried under a bunch of clothing in your closet or something?
I can’t tell you where it’s at, but it’s in a really safe place. [laughs]