Ridley Knows He Can't Fumble

The running back struggled to hold onto the ball at times last season

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) hands off to New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (22) during the first half of the AFC Championship NFL playoff football game against the Denver Broncos in Denver, Sunday, Jan. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

    A season ago, it was a problem that haunted Patriots running back Stevan Ridley all the way to the bench. In the Patriots' second preseason game, Ridley fumbled again, bringing back a flood of bad memories and concerns about what it means for the future.

    Never mind that the Pats recovered, or that it's the preseason and stats don't matter, for Ridley -- and coach Bill Belichick -- it's bigger than that.

    "When I go back and watch the play, and the ball is out again, Week 2, it kind of sucks,' Ridley said this week, via ESPN.com. "But it's football, man, and I can't get down about it. I can't harp about it. That's why you have preseason. I'm just going to keep on working and keep on pushing."

    On the fumble against the Eagles, Ridley appeared to be down. But again, that's not the point.

    ""It's too close to call, man. Either way, I need to avoid those plays in general," he continued. "There's nothing really else to be said about it. ... I hated it. It was a sick feeling for a second. We looked at the play, it is what it is, but either way one out is too many. But I'm not going to harp on that. I'm going to learn from it."

    So how exactly does Ridley learn not to fumble?

    "That's what I'm still trying to figure out," he said. "Getting tackled by a few defenders, it's football, they're taught to go after the ball and attack it. It's just staying alert, being conscious of that, and trying to get two hands on it. That's really all you can do."

    To Ridley's credit, he understands why the media asks questions about something he'd prefer to forget altogether.

    "I'm just thankful it's preseason," Ridley said. "It was a close call and the ball was out, but it could have been down, could not have been down. Guess what? If it's in my hands, you don't have to answer that question.

    "Either way, I'm man enough and am going to stand up here and do what I do. Like I say, it's another Monday that I'm out here and I'm in pads and I'm back to work today. So I just have to learn from it and keep it moving and not sulk on that.

    "I will try not to have the issue and this be the topic the whole year this year because I think I can do a few other things that you all can write about, and hopefully have some good things to say," Ridley continued. "Either way, I have to own up to it and that's what it was."