Four seasons have passed, but Pittsburgh Steelers running back Stevan Ridley hasn't forgotten what happened to him while with the New England Patriots.
The Patriots elected to not bring back Ridley during free agency in 2015, less than a year after he suffered a knee injury in October 2014.
While revenge games are a narrative often overused around the NFL, this one has merit for Ridley, who faces off against his former team in Week 15 action.
"I'm very open and I have to be real: I want this game more than any other game, man," Ridley said, via Kevin 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, who is in his eighth season, didn't hold back when asked why he harbored those feelings.
"I was trashed after an injury," Ridley said. "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 had his moments in New England, highlighted by 1,263 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns in 2013, but his career has gone the opposite direction since he left the Patriots.
He signed with the New York Jets in 2015, and then bounced around the league spending time with the Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos and Minnesota Vikings before joining the Steelers in 2017.
Ridley's role is much different now, too, as he's a clear backup with 50 total offensive snaps on the 2018 season. In eight games this season, Ridley has 23 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown, averaging 2.6 yards per attempt.
Nevertheless, the 29-year-old Ridley believes he can still play a featured role out of the backfield.
"I'm still not where I really want to be, because I believe I'm a starting running back still in this league," Ridley said. "I don't care if it's Year Eight, or four years ago, I know what I can do. I come and I practice and prepare like I'm a starter every single day. And I think that's what it requires. When that opportunity does come, you have to be able to capitalize."
Regardless how Ridley feels about his current role or the circumstances leading to his departure from New England, he might have to wait patiently for his chances Sunday. With James Conner still nursing an ankle injury, Jaylen Samuels would be in line to start again.