On Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts signed Stevan Ridley to add to their depth at running back, which wasn’t too surprising given the questions at the position.
It’s still not clear what Ridley’s role with the team is going to be, however, and the Colts don’t seem to know for sure yet either.
“We saw a really good football player that was available,” head coach Chuck Pagano said today of the decision to sign Ridley. “He has played really good football in the past, so there was an opportunity and we brought him in here and worked him out. He was in great shape so we said let’s kick the tires and take him for a spin and see what happens.”
That’s not exactly a ringing endorsement for Stevan Ridley: the Colts just wanted to bring him in, kick the tires, take him for a spin, and then see what happens? As many have speculated over the pasts 24 hours, it doesn’t appear certain that Ridley will make the Colts’ final roster. Instead, it seems like the Colts brought in Ridley to see what he can do and then make a final decision.
Furthermore, Ridley’s contract doesn’t give much reason to think his spot on the roster is secure. According to the Indianapolis Star’s Stephen Holder, Ridley signed a one-year deal for the veteran minimum, a deal that contains no guarantees.
It’s unclear whether Ridley will play during the Colts’ preseason finale this Thursday night, but it’s likely that he will. For now, though, he’s trying to learn the offense as quickly as possible.
“It’s a lot because I really have to get in the playbook,” Ridley said today. “Not only getting in the playbook, knowing your assignment is one thing, but then you have to become the player that you are once you do know that assignment. You have to get comfortable. You have to gain you teammates’ trust. You have to go out there and try to make the most of each rep that you can. But it is a task. It’s a job in front of me. Like I believe, truly if I put my time in and these coaches know what I have and have to do. I just have to get in here and work and try not to make the same mistakes too many times and that’s all that I can really do.”
He said that there were some other teams interested in after he was cut by the Lions but that the Colts were the best option and the best fit. “I look, this team is not far off from really doing some good things so I had to take this opportunity and run with it,” Ridley said.
But what in particular made him choose the Colts as his best option?
“Just to come here and see the back that they have – Frank [Gore] is 33,” Ridley explained. “He is still doing it and doing it very well. All the guys that are behind him are closer to my age so we are all kind of at that same point of time in our career. It’s an opportunity to come in here and try to complement what I’d say a GOAT at the position. For me, it’s just getting out here and getting accustomed to this offense and what they are going to call. If I can do that, I think I can just be the same player that I always have been. I am going to come in here and work hard every day. That’s all that they can ask and that’s all that I can do because it’s a blessing to be in this business each and every day that you get.”
Ridley joins a running back room that has Frank Gore firmly entrenched as the starter... and then a bunch of question marks after that. Robert Turbin, Jordan Todman, and Josh Ferguson have all been competing during camp and preseason as well, and now Ridley joins them - albeit late in the process. He’s produced at the NFL level before, as he was a very productive back for the Patriots in his first three seasons before a torn ACL in 2014. He says he’s “one hundred percent” healthy now, so the Colts wanted to bring him in to see whether he can regain his form from before the injury. If so, then it’d be a very nice boost to the running back position. If not? It wouldn’t be a surprise if he doesn’t stick around.