Upon his arrival with the New England Patriots, Riley Reiff is searching for one thing.
The veteran offensive tackle spoke with the media for the first time since signing with the Patriots in the offseason on Tuesday, sharing there’s just one thing, in particular, he’s after in his time in New England.
“A ring,” Reiff said when asked about his decision to sign with the Patriots.
Reiff, 34, was very close to getting that ring just two seasons ago. He was with the Cincinnati Bengals during their run to Super Bowl LVI. But Reiff was placed on injured reserve in December that season after starting the first 12 games at right tackle, causing him to watch the game rather than play in it.
“I was there,” Reiff recalled of his memory of that game. “Up in the press box. Not a nice press box, either.”
Riley Reiff saw his Bengals squad lose that game. After playing for a team that nearly reached the mountaintop in 2021, he played for a team that was on the opposite of that last season. Reiff started 10 games at right tackle for the Chicago Bears, who finished with the league’s worst record in 2022.
But playing for a losing team last season doesn’t faze Reiff’s outlook on the future. Now with his fifth team, Reiff is entering the 12th season of his career and is eager to get going with the Patriots as he believes his experience could benefit the squad. He also thinks his experience can help him grow as a player, too.
“I’d like to think I’m a little bit smarter. I’ve seen quite a bit,” Reiff said of his veteran experience. “There’s always something to learn whether you’re a rookie or Year 12. I’m just excited to work with the group of guys we have, the coaches, and that starts here in offseason workouts.”
As for what Reiff’s role with the Patriots will be, no one is sure yet. The Patriots gave him a one-year, $5 million deal in free agency, which would suggest that he isn’t going to play a major role with this team. But there is an open starting spot at right tackle following the departure of Isaiah Wynn.
Left tackle Trent Brown, who had some ups and downs last season, is also in a contract year and his future with the Patriots isn’t too clear. Prior to switching to right tackle in 2021, Reiff played at left tackle for the majority of his career.
The versatile veteran has proven to play at multiple spots on the offensive line, and that’s how he’s handling his approach on where he might.
“No,” Reiff said when asked if he had a preference on which spot he’d like to play at. “I’m just an offensive lineman. Wherever the coaches want me to do it, I’ll do it.”
There are only two preferences Reiff has at this point in his career: winning and remaining healthy, especially after he watched his team come so close to winning a Super Bowl two years ago.
“It was tough,” Reiff recalled of not playing in Super Bowl LVI. “Just wanted to keep going. That was a fun year. Good group of guys. You guys know this, but to have fun, you’ve got to win.”