The Detroit Lions announced Thursday that they released running back Stevan Ridley.
Ridley, a third-round pick of the New England Patriots (73rd overall) in 2011, signed a one-year contract with the Lions back in April, but he evidently failed to make an impression while competing for a backup job behind second-year running back Ameer Abdullah.
“Just like anything else that we do just in terms of evaluation process, we take a look at it and we go through our transactions and we make moves according to what we think is best for us,” Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said Thursday, according to the Detroit Free Press. “He’s still got obviously some juice left and he’s a good player, just in our situation we just did what we think is best.”
Ridley’s release begs the question: Should the Patriots consider reuniting with the 27-year-old?
Ridley spent four seasons with New England, providing some good and some bad. He was a workhorse for the Patriots during the 2012 season, rushing for a career-high 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns, but fumble issues often overshadowed his success with New England, especially during the 2013 season, when he lost significant playing time to LeGarrette Blount.
Ridley, who missed the rest of the Patriots’ 2014 Super Bowl-winning season after tearing his ACL and MCL in Week 6, hasn’t done anything notable since leaving New England. He latched on with the New York Jets last season and totaled just 90 yards on 36 carries, and he obviously didn’t show enough during his brief stay with the Lions to warrant consideration for a regular-season roster spot.
That said, he’s still young, he’s finally healthy (or so he says), his fumble issues seemingly are behind him and he knows New England. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski even has kept in touch with his former teammate, who arranged an interesting offseason gathering at Drake’s house in which Gronk and Pats wide receiver Danny Amendola were spotted wearing onesies.
Plus, the Patriots could use another running back, especially with Dion Lewis expected to miss a big chunk of time following another surgery on his knee. As it stands, Blount, James White and Brandon Bolden seem to have the inside track on roster spots, with Tyler Gaffney, D.J. Foster and Joey Iosefa all vying for roles as the regular season approaches.
Would Ridley provide an upgrade? It’s tough to tell. There’s a chance he’s lost some burst since his knee injury and would be nothing more than another body in an already complicated running back picture. But one shouldn’t rule out a reunion as the Patriots look to figure out life without Lewis.
Thumbnail photo via Raj Mehta/USA TODAY Sports Images