Redblacks sign former NFL starter Ryan Lindley (and why they did it)

The Ottawa Redblacks have signed former NFL quarterback Ryan Lindley, who started a playoff game with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015.

Originally drafted in the sixth round of the 2012 NFL Draft, Lindley appeared in six games his rookie season, including four starts. But he completed just 52 per cent of his passes and threw seven interceptions against zero touchdowns (passer rating 46.7).

After two seasons with the team, Lindley was released by the Cardinals on August 25, 2014 but returned in November after a season-ending injury to Carson Palmer. When back-up Drew Stanton also went down, Lindley was promoted to the No. 1 job and started Arizona’s first-round playoff game against the Panthers on Jan. 3, 2015. It did not go well: Lindley completed 16 of 28 passes for 82 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions (passer rating of 44.3) Arizona lost 27–16. The Cardinals totalled 77 yards of offence, the fewest in NFL playoff history.

After his second release from Arizona, Lindley caught on with New England Patriots in 2015 but was let go after the pre-season. He signed with Indianapolis in December, made one start and was released. His career NFL total: 140 for 274 for 1,372 yards, three touchdowns and 11 interceptions and a 52.4 passer rating.

Lindley, now 27, has been out of football a year though he did spend time tutoring up-and-coming quarterbacks Jared Goff and Carson Wentz as they prepared for the NFL Draft.

By coming to Canada, Lindley gets a chance to resurrect his playing career. At 6-foot-3, 232 pounds, Lindley is clearly NFL-sized and his rushing numbers – minus-275 yards in college, seven yards on four attempts in the pros – don’t indicate much by the way of mobility. But with the retirement of Henry Burris, Lindley should get the chance to compete for the back up job behind Trevor Harris – who has never played a full CFL season – with Danny O’Brien and Brock Jensen.

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