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Detroit Lions release Stevan Ridley

The Lions let go of a player once thought to be a main contender for the backup running back job.

New York Jets v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

The Detroit Lions have released running back Stevan Ridley, the team announced on Thursday morning.

Ridley was brought aboard to seriously compete for the No. 2 running back position behind Ameer Abdullah. Ridley had former ties with general manager Bob Quinn, as he had played four years in New England before joining the New York Jets last season. Ridley is coming off an injury riddled career, but the Lions were hopeful he’d be able to return to his 2012 form, when he rushed for 1,263 yards

Ridley was expected to bring a power running style to the Lions’ backfield that could potentially fill the void left by Joique Bell. But Ridley failed to make any sort of impact during camp or during the preseason. He only carried the ball nine times for 27 yards in two preseason games and got most of his work with the third and fourth team offense.

Now that Ridley is out of the running back competition, that leaves Zach Zenner, George Winn and rookie Dwayne Washington vying for two or three open spots on the roster. Zenner seems like the most likely candidate to win a job, as he has received the most time with the second-team offense. However, Washington has been a dark horse candidate to make the roster since the beginning of training camp. He started off the preseason with a bang, returning a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown, and followed up that performance with a solid rushing day against the Bengals, tallying the team’s only rushing touchdown of the preseason.

This move comes as a bit of a surprise so early in the process, as the Lions aren’t required to cut down their roster to 75 players for another five days, meaning Detroit could have given Ridley one more chance to prove himself in the Lions’ third preseason game. However, Detroit appears content with their decision now.

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