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From the Hart: Bolden not Benny 2.0

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Bolden, a team captain as a senior, had been suspended for a game against Alabama for violating team rules. Now in New England as an undrafted free agent at rookie mini-camp, Bolden had a simple answer to those wanting to investigate his character. "Come investigate it," Bolden said with a confident edge. "Just come investigate it. Just watch me. I really don't have an answer for them."

Bolden lands at Gillette Stadium looking to follow the footsteps of another former Ole Miss running back. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was also undrafted out of the school before earning a job as a free agent player and finally developing into a 1,000-yard back.

While Bolden has heard the stories of Green-Ellis in college and now in New England, he's looking more to make his own bones at this point.

"Ben was at Ole Miss for the four years before I go there," Bolden said. "He was walking out the door I was coming int. Great guy. Great running back. Watched a lot of film on him.

"Honestly I haven't paid much attention to it. Ben did what he did because that's what Ben does. I'm coming in to try to make it as he did."

Bolden's best season in Oxford came as a junior when he ran 163 times for 976 yards (6.0 avg.) while also catching 32 passes for 344 yards. A hairline fracture in his left ankle in last fall's season opener cut into his production and playing time as a senior in 2011. He played in 10 games with four starts, tallying 462 yards on 96 attempts (4.8 avg.).

Not exactly the same resume as Green-Ellis who had multiple 1,000-yard seasons in college. Bolden also fumbled eight times in 562 touches, compared to zero fumbles in the Law Firm's life.

But at this point the comparisons with Green-Ellis are irrelevant. Bolden is just another young body on the practice fields, trying to throw his hat in the ring for a role in New England's relatively young backfield committee.

"It's a lot of young guys," Bolden acknowledged of the Patriots running back depth chart. "Everybody is trying to prove the same point. Why not throw my two-cents in as well. I'm just here to make them better, to push them as well as they're going to push me.

"I'm just coming in here trying to make my spot. I'm a guy that looks forward. The injury happened. Everything happens for a reason. Just keep moving."

As an undrafted player Bolden could have chosen to pursue his pro dreams anywhere. While many probably assumed he choose New England in some way due to Green-Ellis' success, that's not the case.

"It just felt like the right thing to do," Bolden said.

Although the team's winning history and organizational respect clearly had something to do with it.

"Watching from since maybe 2000, it's a great organization," Bolden concluded. "You hear everyone talking about the owner and how good of a coach Coach Belichick is. Just kind of wanted to find out for myself."

Like all the rest of the rookies, that's exactly what Bolden is doing this week on the practice fields of Foxborough.

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