Some people choose not to hold grudges, Stevan Ridley is not one of those people.
The veteran running back played the first four years of his career with the New England Patriots, rushing for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns during the 2012 season. But during the final year of his contract in 2014, the LSU product suffered a torn ACL and MCL in a game against the Buffalo Bills and never played another down for the Patriots.
Ridley has since bounced around the league, looking to regain the lead back title he had during his time in New England. The 29-year-old now finds himself with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who the Patriots will face Sunday, and Ridley isn’t shy about his feelings toward his former team.
“I’m very open and I have to be real: I want this game more than any other game, man,” Ridley told Kevin Duffy of the Boston Herald. “That’s just the bottom line to it. And it’ll be that way from this year until I go in the grave. I’m just that kind of person.”
Why is Ridley focused on getting back at the team that drafted him? It’s simple: he feels they threw him on the scrap heap.
“I was trashed after an injury,” Ridley said. “I’m just going to put it that way. I’m not going to say specifically, but to be a starter for (the Patriots) for four years, to tear my ACL and never get a call back, that’s a tough pill to swallow.”
Ridley isn’t the first former running back to take a shot at Patriot Place. Earlier in the season, Tennessee Titans running back Dion Lewis tossed a couple grenades after his club hammered the Pats in Nashville, calling the franchise cheap and soft.
Ridley went a little farther.
“I had circled the game when I was with the Jets — I think it was Week 7 or 8,” Ridley said, “and man, I’ve had that game circled on my schedule every year since I left there to try to get a shot at these guys and get some kind of redemption.”
With Le’Veon Bell electing to sit out the entire season and James Conner nursing an ankle injury, Ridley enters the Week 15 matchup as an important member of Pittsburgh’s backfield. If Conner can’t play Sunday, Ridley likely will get at least a few carries as the No. 2 option behind rookie Jaylen Samuels.
The Patriots’ run defense has been more like a runway of late so it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ridley give his old team something to remember him by at Heinz Field on Sunday.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images