Stevan Ridley’s journey through free agency has come to an end without a return to New England.
The 26-year-old running back has agreed to one-year deal with the New York Jets, NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday evening.
“Sending love to all my day one fans, and every teammate I’ve had the pleasure to take the field with,” the former Patriot posted on his Instagram account. “We all know it’s a business, yet it’s also a blessing. So either way you see it, you’ll never understand. Love New England, love my former teammates, and I’m truly thankful for the opportunity the Patriots organization has blessed me with.”
Ridley spent his first four NFL seasons in Foxborough, where he amassed 2,817 career rushing yards and 22 touchdowns.
The 5-foot-10, 220-pound LSU product’s top campaign arrived as a second-year pro in 2012, when he rushed for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns. But he saw his 2014 campaign end after 340 yards and two touchdowns, suffering a torn ACL and MCL in October.
The rehabilitating back had a quiet start to free agency in result. Yet with a targeted clearance date standing less than two months out, Ridley began making free-agent visits at the end of March.
The 2011 third-round pick met with the Miami Dolphins, Jets and Washington Redskins before choosing to stay in the AFC East. And now, his choice will send him to the team he collected 269 rushing yards and two scores over six games against.
Ridley joins a Jets backfield headined by Chris Ivory and third-down back Bilal Powell, leaving behind a Patriots backfield manned by the likes of LeGarrette Blount, Jonas Gray, Brandon Bolden, James White, Tyler Gaffney, Dion Lewis and free-agent addition Travaris Cadet.
He will face the Patriots at least twice in 2015.