Detroit — The Lions found a veteran running back to add to their young group, and he has a lot in common with many of the other free agents general manager Bob Quinn has signed so far this year.
Stevan Ridley, who spent four years with the Patriots before playing for the Jets in 2015, announced on Instagram that he’s joining the Lions.
“But now it's on to Detroit for me!” Ridley said after thanking Jets fans and the organization. “I can't be happier for another shot to tote this pill and showcase the gifts I've been truly blessed with! Detroit, I've got a (surprise) for you this year, I promise. I'm ready to get to work with my new family, so April 18th can't come soon enough! (Let’s) eat fellas, and this year we want the whole plate!!”
The Lions haven’t announced it, but April 18 is presumably the start of offseason workouts.
Like many of the free agents the Lions have signed or hosted the past few weeks, Ridley has had diminished production in recent years, largely due to injury, but he proved in the past to be capable of handling a sizable role.
Ridley was a third-round pick out of LSU in 2011 and had 441 yards averaging 5.1 yards per carry as a rookie. In his second year, he became a prominent piece of the offense, ranking seventh in the NFL with 1,263 rushing yards and tied for third with 12 touchdowns.
In 2013, LeGarrette Blount cut into his rushing totals as Ridley had 773 yards and seven touchdowns, and in 2014, he suffered a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee in October 2014, ending his final season in New England on injured reserve with just 340 yards on a career-low 3.6 yards per carry.
Ridley joined the Jets on a one-year deal for 2015, but even after recovering from his knee injury, he had just 36 carries for 90 yards in eight games.
Now, the Lions will see if Ridley has more to contribute another year removed from the injury. At 5-foot-11 and 220 pounds, Ridley could provide a power component to a Lions backfield that will feature Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick, though Zach Zenner should compete for playing time, too.