After being cleared for full participation in practice on Wednesday, which is the first time he has fully practiced the entire regular season. The good news has continued to come for Detroit Lions safety James Ihedigbo, who came to practice Thursday morning, saying that he feels “great” and that he’s ready to rock, making it clear that he is starting to overcome the nerve injury in his neck.
“I’ve pretty much done everything that’s been asked of me.” Ihedigbo said before practice on Thursday. “It’s a great sign to be back, plus I’m 100 percent as possible. I look forward to rocking.”
This Sunday against the Jets certainly would be a great time to get Ihedigbo back in-game action. For starters, Ihedigbo is a hard-hitting run stopper who could be used against the Jets dual-threat backfield of Chris Ivory and Chris Johnson, who are currently ranked second in the NFL.
“I don’t know if it plays to my skill set but I know it’s the skill set of our defense.” Ihedigbo replied. “Our goal is to stop the run, there’s no doubt about it. Their going to try to run the ball and we’re going to try to stop it. We’ll have to see what happens on Sunday.”
Then if that’s not enough, another added bonus about Ihedigbo possibly returning this Sunday, is the fact that he is a former New York Jet, who is more than familiar with some of the ins and outs of the Jets defensive system. Not to mention he knows the hostile and tough environment that Jets fans create and bring to MetLife Stadium.
“Of course, that goes without saying,” Ihedigbo said. “But I don’t want to make it personal, about me. It has nothing to do with me. It’s about our team and it’s about our goals ahead of us. This is a team that’s in the way of that.”
“The environment is going to be hostile, the Jets fans are going to bring that hostile environment but some of the guys are going to have to embrace it and execute our techniques, the things that are fundamental to us and go out there and play solid football.”
Although, the Lions have yet to say if Ihedigbo, will be available for Sunday’s game in New York against the Jets. There is no doubt that his team is eager to get him back on the field, including defensive coordinator Teryl Austin.
“I think it’ll be good to get Dig (Ihedigbo) back, he was having a heck of a camp and now he’s getting back to that. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said Thursday. “It’ll be good in the running game he is a big body, he’s a good tackler, and plays well close to the line of scrimmage so it’ll be good to get him back.”
The same attitude is shared by fellow safety Glover Quin, who also couldn’t be more excited about the possibility of getting his teammate back on the field this Sunday.
“He (Ihedigbo) brings a lot.” Quin said. “From a team standpoint, we have more depth, we have more guys, which obviously affects our defense and our special teams. From a playing standpoint, he brings energy, he brings experience, he brings a physical nature and he brings a lot of other good things.”
“I know he is excited to get out there Sunday, which will probably be liking his opening day and he’ll probably feel the same way everybody felt on that Monday night game (we had in week 1 of the season). So, if he’s out there, I expect big things.”
So while it does look like that Ihedigbo, could make his return to the field this Sunday against the Jets. Ihedigbo, did remind everyone that nothing is definite at this point and that his biggest focus is coming back and not setting himself up for any setback, in the process.
“One thing we don’t want is any setbacks,” Ihedigbo said. “That doesn’t benefit anybody. I’m just controlling it, and hopefully I get to a point where I feel great on Sunday and I’m ready to play some football.”
Written by LBeasley (Lauren Beasley), Sports Editor of Radio One Detroit
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