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Keenan Lewis 'never got along' with Saints DC Allen

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Keenan Lewis was a star under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan in his first season with New Orleans back in 2013.

Now that Dennis Allen is running the defense, the Saints have cut ties with the veteran cornerback.

Is it the change in coordinator that led to Lewis' Friday exit? He certainly believes that's the case, telling ESPN's Josina Anderson that he was never "one of (Allen's) guys."

"Dennis Allen, we never got along since day one. It was something that happened years ago," Lewis said. "... Like he told me seven years ago, I didn't have what it takes to make it. He told me face-to-face that I wasn't going to make it. So I always used that as my motivation every time I see him."

Lewis was limited to six games in 2015 due to a litany of injuries that resulted in surgeries for an MCL tear, torn labrum and a sports hernia. He tried to played through the two labrum injuries last season, just as he battled through a 2014 injury that left his knee swollen to a degree that he describes as "the size of a bowling ball."

When a strained adductor muscle sidelined him in training camp, he wanted coach Sean Payton to give him time to prove he could still help the team.

"Only thing I asked from coach Payton is, and the organization is, give me an opportunity to play at 100 percent," Lewis explained. "Not even 100 percent, let me play at 90-95 percent healthy, so that I can show people I'm on the same level."

Speaking to reporters Saturday, Payton said he didn't know of any tension between Lewis and Allen. He said Lewis' lack of availability ultimately led to his release.

"It was just trying to get him on the field, Payton said. "It's just been a long time."

Lewis had a strained relationship with the organization going back to March of 2015 when he requested to be traded or released unless the final three years of his contract were guaranteed. Although he was unhappy with the direction of the team following the Jimmy Graham blockbuster trade, he restructured his contract with the Saints shortly thereafter.

It will be interesting to gauge Lewis' free-agent market after taking his issues with Allen public. A legitimate shadow corner in his prime, he's now an injured 30-year-old out to prove his speed and quickness wasn't left on the operating table.

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