Several years back it looked like the Patriots were going to be set up for the next decade at running back with the explosive Stevan Ridley getting the traditional carries and Shane Vereen playing the Kevin Faulk role as the primary receiving threat out of the backfield.
Vereen is now in New York with the Giants and Ridley is now looking for a job as he was released by the Detroit Lions on Thursday.
“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 coach Jim Caldwell told the Detroit Free-Press of Ridley. "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 played with the Jets last season and spent most of the year on the PUP list. He amassed just 90 yards on 36 carries total with New York. The Jets moved on from Ridley, who was a free agent this past spring, and brought in former Bears back Matt Forte instead.
Ridley surely got lost in the Lions’ backfield depth chart as well, as the younger Ameer Abdullah showed flashes of brilliance in his rookie year of 2015 and the Lions remain high on him.
Ridley is still just 27-years-old (old in running back years, but far from ancient) and with the Patriots hurting at running back – they may soon place a phone call to their former backs’ agent. Dion Lewis – who has a similar game as Ridley – is out indefinitely, leaving the Patriots with only LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden as the running backs with legitimate NFL experience.
Ridley had a 1,263-yard rushing campaign just four years ago with the Pats, and if he owns anywhere close to the same burst – he should still be able to play in this league.
See the above video for Ridley highlights.