The Indianapolis Colts announced on Sunday that the team has signed veteran running back Stevan Ridley.
Of course, the Colts have struggled finding a proven option behind starting running back Frank Gore so far in preseason, as no one out of the backup group of Robert Turbin, Josh Ferguson, and Jordan Todman has consistently impressed.
The 27 year old Ridley worked out for the Colts on Friday, and apparently, the team liked enough of what they saw to sign him to a contract.
Originally a 3rd round pick of the New England Patriots in 2011, Ridley has 685 career carries for 2,907 career rushing yards (4.2 ypc avg) and 22 touchdowns respectively in 61 games (26 starts).
He’s most known for being one of the Patriots top running backs earlier in his career, most notably when he rushed for 1,263 rushing yards on 290 carries (4.4 ypc avg) and 12 rushing touchdowns in 2012–a career season.
Oftentimes, Ridley was the Patriots most talented natural runner–featuring a nice combination of speed and power. Unfortunately, he also showed a propensity for fumbling the football with 9 fumbles in his first 3 seasons with the Patriots, which often left him banished in Bill Belichick‘s ball security doghouse for some short stretches during seasons.
However, Ridley since suffered a season-ending torn ACL in 2014, which has really hindered his production in recent seasons, as he has yet to regain his prior form.
The 5’11”, 220 pound running back signed with the Jets last season, but rushed for just 90 yards on 36 carries (2.5 ypc avg) and no touchdowns in 8 games (1 start), having never fully recovered from his significant knee injury.
Earlier this offseason, the Detroit Lions signed Ridley to a 1-year deal, but he was released after just the team’s 2nd preseason game, rushing for 27 total rushing yards on 9 carries (3.0 ypc avg)–having found himself buried 4th on the team’s running back depth chart.
That being said, as mentioned, the Colts running game has struggled in preseason.
Some of that can be attributed to the offensive line failing to consistently open up interior rushing holes and also suspect play-calling at times by stubbornly running between the tackles despite a loaded defensive box.
However, Ridley could provide the Colts with another veteran option to push Turbin, Ferguson, and Todman for carries. It’s unlikely that the Colts keep four running backs, so it’s likely that one member of this group will be the odd man out–my initial guess would be on Todman, but there’s one more preseason game to find out.
It’s worth noting that Turbin did rush for 24 yards on 4 carries (6.0 ypc avg) in Saturday’s preseason game, which was a significant improvement from his prior preseason performances. Additionally, Ferguson also finally ‘flashed’ a bit as a 3rd down running back, catching 3 passes for 28 total receiving yards against the Eagles.
However, clearly the Colts aren’t satisfied with their backup running back situation as a whole, which is why Ridley was officially signed Sunday to boost their backfield.