Stevan Ridley ready for new start with Detroit Lions

Published 12:07 am Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Stevan Ridley’s new start with the Detroit Lions officially kicked off Saturday as the former Trinity Episcopal star and joined other Lions players to weigh-in in preparation for training camp, set to begin Friday.

And Ridley couldn’t be more excited to get started.

“I think I’m in some of the best shape I’ve been in my life,” Ridley said. “It’s a big year for me, and I get another opportunity to go up there and do what I love.”

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Ridley is entering his sixth season after spending four years with the New England Patriots and appearing in just eight games last season for the New York Jets due to rehabbing a torn ACL he suffered in October 2014.

The 5-foot-11, 220 pounder said he thinks there is a great opportunity for him in Detroit, as the Lions possess a pair of smaller, pass-catching tailbacks in Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick.  The Lions also parted ways this offseason with bruising running back Joique Bell, potentially paving the way for Ridley to fill a role on the offense.

“We have some very young, but talented backs,” Ridley said. “What they told me what they needed of me is to come in there and be the first- and second-down back, the short yardage and goal-line back.”

The former LSU star inked a one-year deal with the Lions in April, citing a strong relationship with former Patriots personnel and current Lions general manager Bob Quinn.

“The selling point for me was to go back to doing what I did my first few years in New England,” Ridley said. “Hitting it wide open and doing what I do best.”

The Lions attempted the 18th most pass attempts in the NFL last season, but that number may drop in 2016 after the announced retirement of six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

Despite the loss of Johnson, Ridley noted he has been impressed with his team’s additions this offseason.

“I think they did a tremendous job of piecing the offensive line in front of us,” he said.

While Ridley’s focus remains on the upcoming season, the former LSU star who spent four seasons in Baton Rouge, said he has kept a close eye in the recent tragic events that have rattled the nation, including the deaths of three Baton Rouge police officers and local resident Alton Sterling.

“It’s rough,” Ridley said. “It really is. My biggest concern is that it doesn’t turn into a race war. Black lives matter, white lives matter, purple lives matter, they all matter. With everything that’s going on, it’s sad to hear. My prayers go out to all the (victim’s) families.”