Stevan Ridley, a running back I once insisted was among the top-seven in the NFL (I can’t remember why or how I decided on seven), is trying to get his feet under himself in Detroit.
And the former Patriot who spent a lost season with the Jets says that, after initially being repelled by the idea of joining the Lions, he likes the Patriotic vibe he’s getting.
“Initially, when I got the call from the Lions I didn’t know if it was really somewhere that I really wanted to be,” Ridley told Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
“But once I got there and I met coach and I met the staff and some of the guys that had rolled over from New England and they’re there now, I mean I honestly felt so good. It was almost like I had a peace about the place once I left there.”
Former Patriots personnel man Bob Quinn, the Lions’ GM, has imported former New England players such as safety Tavon Wilson and strength coach Harold Nash to Detroit in addition to some of the front-office personnel. The idea, Quinn has said, isn’t to make Lions a different version of the Patriots but to maybe adopt some of the same tendencies that benefited New England while allowing the Lions to forge their own identity.
Still just 27, Ridley’s been backsliding since 2012 when he was a 1,200-yard, 12-touchdown back with a 4.4 YPC. In 2013, fumbles whittled into his carries and he had 773 yards. In 2014, he blew out his ACL in Buffalo in Week 6. He signed with the Jets and was buried behind Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell. When he got the ball, he did little, managing 90 yards on 36 carries.
“I really believe that my best years are ahead of me over these next two or three or four years, whatever that may be,” Ridley told Birkett. “So I’m really excited about an opportunity just to come in here and do what I did in New England for four years, and that was to hold down the early downs and to get the short-yardage carries or get the goal line carries, just to do whatever this team needs me to do.
“And that’s what me and coach [Jim] Caldwell talked about on my visit, just to come here and just to play my role and do my job. I’m not going to sit here and set expectations or anything like that, but I will say I’m coming in here to work, I’m coming in here and I’m hungry and I’m coming in here hungry about playing for the Detroit Lions.”