Report: Ex-Patriots RB Stevan Ridley to visit Lions

Josh Katzenstein
The Detroit News

The Lions’ search for running back depth has led them to a former Patriots player.

According to NFL Network, the Lions will host former Patriots and Jets running back Stevan Ridley on a free-agent visit Tuesday afternoon.

Ridley, 27, suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee in October 2014, ending his final season in New England on injured reserve. He signed with the Jets as a free agent last April, started the season on the physically unable to perform list and finished the season with 36 carries for 90 yards in eight games.

If the Lions were to sign Ridley, a third-round pick by the Patriots in 2011, they’d be hoping he could eventually return to his past form. In 2012, he had 1,263 rushing yards with 12 touchdowns, and in 2013, he had 773 rushing yards and seven touchdowns.

The Lions are still looking to add an experienced back with short-yardage potential after cutting Joique Bell in February. For now, the running back depth chart has Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick at the top with Zach Zenner and George Winn competing for roles.

Although the 220-pound Ridley offers little as a receiver with a career-high 10 catches in 2013, he averaged at least 4.3 yards per carry in each of his first three seasons.

Lions general manager Bob Quinn, of course, was in New England during Ridley’s successful campaigns, working in the Patriots’ personnel department for 16 years before taking the Detroit job in January.