Jan 20, 2013; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley (22) carries the ball in the second quarter of the AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Bill Belichick: Stevan Ridley has to “be ready to go


New England Patriots benched starting running back Stevan Ridley after he fumbled the ball twice. Shane Vereen played well in his place before breaking his wrist. That could force the Patriots to play Ridley whether they want to or not.

“I talked to Stevan,” Belichick told reporters Monday, via NFL.com. “Look, every player has the same responsibility every week: to be ready to play, be ready to go. That’s their job. They can’t control coaches’ decisions. Coaches’ decisions are coaches’ decisions. They control their preparation; they control their performance when they’re in the game. That’s what a player’s job is.”

Ridley for his part accepted responsibility for the fumbles.

“I can’t make excuses, two balls on the ground is unacceptable,” Ridley said, via WEEI in Boston. “I’m not going to sit on the past. I have to accept where I messed up, made a mistake and grow from it.”

Tom Brady expressed his support of Ridley as well.

“I know Stevan is a very mentally tough kid,” Brady said. “I love having him back there. I love giving the ball to him and watching him run.”

ESPN Boston.com’s Field Yates pointed out that Ridley carried the ball nearly 18 times a game in the games after fumbling last season, which he did 4 times. Those numbers are identical to the numbers he put up normally.

Tags: Bill Belichick New England Patriots Stevan Ridley