Add Pittsburgh Steelers running back Stevan Ridley to the list of former New England Patriots who had some harsh words for his old team.
As the Steelers prepare for a pivotal Week 15 home tilt against their AFC rivals, Ridley opened up about his bitter departure from Foxborough, and explained why Sunday's game is personal.
"I'm very open and I have to be real: I want this game more than any other game, man," Ridley said, according toKevin 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."
Ridley was drafted in the third round by the Patriots in 2011. He broke out in 2012 with 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns. After another stellar showing in 2013, Ridley's 2014 season was cut short when he tore his ACL in a game against the Buffalo Bills, missing the team's journey to a Super Bowl 49 championship, though Ridley was of course awarded a ring.
The Patriots decided not to bring Ridley back, and he wound up signing with the arch rival New York Jets. Ridley played one game for the Atlanta Falcons in 2016 and joined the Steelers late last season. Now, he'll try to lead Pittsburgh to just its third win against Tom Brady.
"I was trashed after an injury," Ridley added. "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 joins the likes of Malcolm Butler, Danny Amendola and Dion Lewis as former Pats who threw shade at their old team. Amendola signed with the Miami Dolphins in the offseason, and said he loved playing for Adam Gase - whereas dealing with head coach Bill Belichick was like being in "the principal's office."
After leading the Tennessee Titans to a monumental Week 10 win over the Patriots, Lewis called the Patriots "cheap," for opting not to re-sign him after last season. He and Butler got the last laugh on their old team, while Amendola's Dolphins upset the Patriots last Sunday on a Miami Miracle. Ridley will have the chance to avenge his former team as well.
What This Means
No matter how much success some of these players have in Foxborough, a great deal of them don't seem to look back fondly on playing for Belichick. Ridley's Steelers have lost three in a row, and their playoff chances are in jeopardy.
If there's a time for Ridley to make a huge impact, it would be this Sunday. A must-win game for Pittsburgh, fittingly enough against his old team.