After Getting Benched, Patriots’ Ridley Focused On Earning Job Back

BOSTON (CBS) – New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley knew what was coming after he fumbled in the second quarter on Sunday.

He would be watching the rest of the Pats’ season-opener from the bench.

“It was pretty obvious, man. You can’t have two turnovers in one game and expect to stay in,” Ridley said following the Patriots 23-21 win over the Bills. “The coaches had to do the best move for the team and make sure we won this game. They picked the players that they went with and we rolled through. We’re lucky to pull out the win like we did.”

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“I hate it,” he said of fumbling. “It’s unfortunate, but it’s part of the game of football and I’m going to have to keep working, keep driving and pushing forward. We’ve got 15 more weeks in front of us and I’m going right back to work.”

Ridley’s first miscue of the afternoon came early on, though the play was whistled dead so it won’t show up in the stat sheet. But his second fumble, the one that counted, was picked up by Buffalo safety Da’Norris Searcy and ended with a Bills touchdown.

Turnovers have been a recurring theme for the third-year back, who fumbled four times in 2012 regular season and once in the postseason. Though he’s only lost three fumbles in his career, Ridley knows he must get betting at protecting the ball and won’t let Sunday’s benching get in the way.

“For me, I never get too high and I never get too low. It’s just staying on an even keel,” he said. “Today was the first game of the 2013 season, and all the talk before this was what happened last year. It just goes to show you that things can change day-to-day. I can’t blame anyone but myself; just man-up and come back to work. I’m going to put my nose in the dirt and keep grinding.”

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When asked if he needed to earn the starting running back job back from Shane Vereen, who rushed for a career-high 101 yards on 14 carries, Ridley made it very clear that he is on the outside looking in right now.

“Absolutely,” he said. “I’m not going to pout about it, I’m just going to keep on grinding.”

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