Safety James Ihedigbo to join Lions on two-year deal

Posted Mar 25, 2014

The Lions have been looking for a starting safety to pair with Glover Quin and found their man in veteran James Ihedigbo

Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell and defensive coordinator Teryl Austin have found a familiar face to fill the their vacant starting safety spot.

The team and the veteran safety James Ihedigbo have agreed to terms on a new contract, the former Baltimore Raven announced via Twitter Monday night.

“It’s Agreed upon! I’m a @DetroitLionsNFL. I’m excited for what’s ahead and helping this team achieve greatness!!! #HeartOfALion #LionsNation.”

The deal is reportedly for two years, though the team hasn’t officially announced the signing.

The 6-foot-1, 214-pound Ihedigbo, 30, started all 16 games for the Ravens last year recording 101 tackles with 11 passes defensed, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Austin was his secondary coach the last two seasons and Caldwell is very familiar with him having been the offensive coordinator in Baltimore the past couple seasons.

Ihedigbo is a good in-the-box safety, which now frees up veteran Glover Quin to move over to the free safety spot.

“It’s the value of having that multidimensional, versatile defender,” Lions general manager Martin Mayhew told beat reporters at the NFL Annual Meetings Monday of Quin’s skillset.

“A guy like Glover can play strong or free and gives us flexibility to get a guy who plays strong or free, whether it’s a draft choice or free agent or whatever. We can fit him at either position.”

Ihedigbo will help fill the role left vacant when Delmas signed with the Miami Dolphins this offseason.

Austin spoke glowingly of Ihedigbo in his introductory press conference with the Lions when asked about leadership.

“I think one of the things we did that helped foster leadership was we had a player mentoring program where I know in our room we had James Ihedigbo, he would take one of the younger safeties and say, ‘Hey, listen. Here’s how things are done. Here’s how we do it,” Austin said.

“This is right, this is wrong.’ We tried to mentor our guys that way and that helps develop leadership within the room. Once you get it within the room, the guys who have the strongest personality or best leadership qualities, they’ll kind of start taking over that way.”

Ihedigbo also spent time with the New York Jets and New England Patriots before spending the last two seasons in Baltimore.