“When I came to Indianapolis, Tevin was on the team,” Ridgeway said “So it’s kind of ironic that we have both of us on the team and representing Mansfield.”
Their journey to the NFL and their current status are different.
Mitchel suffered an abdominal strain against the Cowboys. He’s OK, but the injury is nothing new for Mitchel.
Selected in the sixth round (182nd overall) by the Washington Redskins in the 2015 NFL Draft, Mitchel suffered a torn labrum during training camp. The Redskins put him on waivers hoping he would clear a day later and be placed on the injured reserved list.
Instead, the Colts claimed Mitchel. He was put on injured reserve on Aug. 31, 2015 and then again on Sept. 3, 2016 after a hamstring injury in the final preseason game. Mitchel was released less than a week later, but signed with the Colts’ practice squad in November.
Mitchel signed a futures contract in January and has gone through the full off-season program and preseason to date.
“It definitely motivates me, but it’s also frustrating,” said Mitchel, who played college football at Arkansas.
Still without a single regular-season down played in his career, Mitchel always seems to beat the odds.
“It’s something I’ve been dealing with since high school as far as injuries, but every time I’m able to overcome it and come back stronger,” he said. “It’s nothing major, but I’ll be fine and I’ll get back on the field.”
Mitchel, who graduated from Legacy in 2010, had 64 tackles his senior year while earning All-America honors. At Arkansas, he accounted for 157 career tackles and four interceptions in 42 games.
He’s also familiar with AT&T Stadium. The Razorbacks and Texas A&M have played at AT&T Stadium in the past few seasons.
“It’s always a good feeling coming back and playing in front of my friends and family,” he said. “Going to Arkansas, we played against Texas A&M every year and that was always a good feeling and now we’re playing the Cowboys so it’s great.”
There are former Mansfield school district players sprinkled all across the NFL.
Ridgeway, who’s in his second NFL season, graduated from Mansfield High in 2012. He played at Texas before Indianapolis drafted him in the fourth round in 2016. He was a two-year starter with the Longhorns, where he appeared in 36 games and finished with 92 career tackles, 9.5 sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown.
“He’s two years younger than me, but we did play each other in high school,” Mitchel said. “We always talk about Legacy and Mansfield — that’s a big rivalry. Hassan and I are close; he’s a good guy and teammate.”
As a rookie with the Colts, Ridgeway had 21 tackles in 16 games with five starts last season.
“I’m just trying to go out there and play as hard as I can. I’m just leaving it all out there every single game,” Ridgeway said.