Lions land Ihedigbo to replace Delmas
The Detroit Lions have filled the void in their secondary, finally settling on a the replacement for safety Louis Delmas.
James Ihedigbo, an unrestricted free agent, announced late Monday night on Twitter that he had reached an agreement with the Lions.
"It’s Agreed upon!" Ihedigbo tweeted. "I’m a @DetroitLionsNFL I’m excited for what’s ahead and helping this team achieve greatness!!! #HeartOfALion #LionsNation."
The team later confirmed that it’s a two-year deal.
— DIGGZ32 (@JamesIhedigbo) March 25, 2014
Ihedigbo, 30, played the past two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, where his position coach was Teryl Austin, the Lions’ new defensive coordinator.
That connection was a big part of Ihedigbo ending up in Detroit, although the Lions did bring in two other free agents — Atlanta’s Thomas DeCoud and Miami’s Chris Clemons — for visits last week.
Ihedigbo (pronounced ee-HEAD-ee-BO) reportedly received interest from at least three other teams, including the Ravens.
He’s coming off a career-best season in which he had 101 combined tackles, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.
Known as a strong hitter who excels against the run, Ihedigbo will play strong safety in the Lions’ new defensive scheme. He takes over the starting spot in the secondary previously held by Delmas, who was released a few weeks ago and then signed with Miami.
Ihedigbo has shown his durability, playing in all 16 games each of the past three seasons at a position where injuries are common.
Both of the Lions’ top free-agent signings this year are players who have been part of recent Super Bowl championship teams — receiver Golden Tate last season with Seattle and Ihedigbo the previous year with Baltimore.
Ihedigbo (6-foot-1, 214 pounds) wasn’t selected in the 2007 NFL Draft after playing in college at Massachusetts.
His work ethic helped him earn his first contract with the New York Jets. He spent four years with the Jets and one with New England before going to Baltimore.
"I always step up when people doubt me," Ihedigbo, who is Nigerian, said in a video on his life produced by "SHOOTMedia" a few years ago.