Detroit Lions safety James Ihedigbo had one of the best seasons of his career in 2014 and he wanted to get paid for it. The 31-year-old even went as far as threatening to hold out if he did not get a new contract from the Lions. Well, he did not get the new contract he wanted and he did not hold out. Now it’s time to begin focusing on 2015, both for Ihedigbo, and for the Lions.
Head coach Jim Caldwell reiterated those thoughts on Sunday at his Training Camp press conference.
“I think that ended in the spring. He was there, and worked out the rest of the spring. He didn’t have to be there, but didn’t violate any rules in that regard, so I think that tells you a lot about his attitude. He’s here today, he’s ready to go to work and it’s kind of the nature of the business.” Caldwell said.
Though it seems like Ihedigbo is planning on practicing and playing from here on out, he does not seem thrilled about how things were handled by the Lions.
“I know how I feel and how I stand, and you see it across the NFL, teams, they take care of their guys and some teams have their other way of doing it,” Ihedigbo said. “I just leave it as it is. We said we’re not going to talk about it.”
Ihedigbo, who was a Pro Bowl alternate last season because of his play on the field is set to make $1.6 million with the Lions in 2015, only $100,000 more than his backup, Isa Abdul-Quddus. There is no question about it that Ihedigbo is worth more than his contract, but he has decided to join his teammates as they prepare for the regular season, even though he did not get his raise.
“It kind of is what it is at this point,” Ihedigbo said. “I said that I wasn’t going to talk about my contract situation. Everyone knows how I feel and everyone knows how the organization feels and you just leave it at that and my focus now is just playing football.”
If Ihedigbo can have another big season for the Lions in 2015, he certainly could be in line for the raise he has wanted and has earned. The only question may be whether or not he remains a member of the Lions in 2016 or if he moves on.