Lions' James Ihedigbo: 'I feel like I'm in my prime'
Never mind the fact that Detroit Lions safety James Ihedigbo will turn 32 years old before the 2015 NFL season comes to a close -- he still feels young on the football field.
"I feel like I’m in my prime," Ihedigbo said, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. "I think the benefit for me was the fact that early on in my career, first five years I played all special teams, so you got to think, that’s like 19, 20 snaps a game, so it kind of preserved my body.
"Now playing defense, I feel as if I’m in my prime. I don’t feel 31. I feel … 27, 28 the way I’m running out there."
Ihedigbo went undrafted in 2007 and didn't break out on defense until 2013, when he was with the Baltimore Ravens. Nineteen of his 21 career pass defenses and all seven of his interceptions have come in the past two seasons.
Now, the Lions, who signed Ihedigbo in free agency last year, are relying on him to be a veteran presence in their defensive backfield.
"One of the things that you have to look at is your entire body of work," Lions head coach Jim Caldwell said, per the Free Press. "Dig is a very, very important part of what we do back there. He’s smart and tough, very, very fine team leader, and I just see every single week within our scheme he gets better and better and better, and he functions better. To anticipate that he may play every game perfectly, it’s not going to happen. But is he going to (have) a very, very powerful impact on our team, I think so. And he does that in more ways than one."
Ihedigbo, who's coming off a career-best season, joins Pro Bowl safety Glover Quinn -- as well as quality cornerbacks Rashean Mathis and Darius Slay -- in what projects to be a dominant Detroit secondary.
(h/t Detroit Free Press)