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Candid Ridley breaks silence

Ever since his last fumble, against Denver in Week 12, Stevan Ridley has been reluctant to speak with the media. In the weeks since, he's been relegated to a backup role at running back, even being deactivated as a healthy scratch against Houston in Week 13.

But Thursday after practice, Ridley finally relented and spoke for nearly eight minutes to a large crowd of reporters. As usual, the third-year back didn't hold back in the face of some very pointed questions.

"If I said it didn't bother me I'd be lying," he admitted, speaking about how the past month has been for him. "But that's part of it. I don't know one single player that you'd go and talk to right now that has played this sport that hasn't gone through some adversity.

"The good ones find a way to shake back. The good ones find a way to make things happen and not make the same mistakes," added Ridley. "That's what I have to do if I want to be a good running back, regardless of what I've done in the past and regardless of the mistakes I've made, it's all about this point forward and what I do."

Ridley and the Patriots were back on the practice field today after taking Christmas Day off. The team was in the office on Tuesday, but only held a walkthrough practice in their indoor training facility. Today, it was back outside on the cold, hard grass.

Ridley's backfield mate, Shane Vereen, who injured a groin early against Baltimore last Sunday, was able to practice on a limited basis. His availability for Sunday's Bills game remains a question mark, however. Ditto for left tackle Nate Solder, who also continued practicing on a limited basis, but who was kept out of the Ravens contest with a concussion.

Safety Devin McCourty also is suffering from a concussion, sustained at Baltimore, which has kept him out of the past two sessions. He and rookie receiver Josh Boyce (left ankle) were the only Patriots who didn't practice today. Defensive end Rob Ninkovich was added to the lengthy Patriots injury report with an ankle problem that limited his participation in today's workout.

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