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Patriots offensive tackle Riley Reiff has one motivation entering 12th NFL season: ‘A ring’

Reiff joined the Patriots as an unrestricted free agent earlier this offseason.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Veteran offensive tackle Riley Reiff has seen a lot throughout his 11-year NFL career. One thing he has not seen: the Lombardi Trophy in his hands.

As he now enters his 12th NFL season and first with the New England Patriots, just one thing keeps him motivated.

“A ring,” he told reporters at Gillette Stadium on Tuesday.

Reiff has been close before, most notably two seasons ago when he served as Joe Burrow’s right tackle on the Cincinnati Bengals. After starting 12 of the first 13 games that season, Reiff suffered a season-ending injury in December. He was forced to watch as his team then came up short in Super Bowl LVI.

“I was there, up in the press box,” Reiff recalled. “Not a nice press box, either.”

It was the 34-year old’s best chance for a piece of hardware throughout a career that spanned over a decade. Before that, Reiff was apart of just one playoff win in his first nine pro seasons.

“It was tough,” Reiff said of that season. “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.”

New England will hope the addition of Reiff helps them get back to their winning ways. The Patriots offense was severely hampered by their poor tackle play last season, particularly at right tackle where they rotated through numerous bodies.

The Patriots then inked Reiff to a one-year, $5 million contract this offseason with over $4 million in guarantees — a sign that they have big plans for the veteran tackle. As for Reiff, while his eyes remain on the ultimate prize, he is taking it day-to-day in the early stages of his Patriots’ career.

“Right now, I’m just worried about learning the playbook and stuff,” he said. “I just want to keep playing. Simple as that.”