Referee Leavy: Ridley's knee caused his fumble

986133.jpg

Referee Leavy: Ridley's knee caused his fumble

FOXBORO -- When Ravens safety Bernard Pollard made helmet-to-helmet contact with Patriots running back Stevan Ridley in the fourth quarter, forcing a fumble, the resulting chaos was difficult to sort out in real time.

It appeared as though Ridley lost consciousness upon contact. As he fell to the ground, his knee jarred the ball from his hand, causing a fumble. When players piled on one another to recover the ball, Patriots medical personnel ran to attend to Ridley. At one point, players and Patriots medical staffers were very close to making contact. It was an unusual scene where it appeared the play was still live (though it had been blown dead) while an injured player was being attended to.

"It was just a tackle," Pollard said. "It's football. He broke a hole and us as safeties, we have to fill when needed. That's football. I hope he's OK. We as players are competitive in the moment, bit when everything calms down, you want that guys to be OK. That is our brother."

The ruling on the field was that the Ravens recovered the fumble -- Ravens defensive lineman Arthur Jones emerged from the pile with the ball -- and the play was reviewed.

The NFL referee working the game, Bill Leavy, explained what he saw after the game:

"What I saw was the receiver was going to the ground, had both legs off the ground, no body part was on the ground. The ball hit his knee and dislodged from his hand before the rest of his body hit the ground, therefore it was a fumble and we confirmed it."

Four plays later, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco found Anquan Boldin for an 11-yard touchdown pass to make the score, 28-13.

"That was the turning point of the game," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "That was the turning point of the football game there on the 40-yard line. It was just a tremendous hit. It was football at its finest."

Brady to Amendola on Facebook: 'Paddle's fixed...Time for a rematch!'

patriots-brady-amendola-120615.jpg

Brady to Amendola on Facebook: 'Paddle's fixed...Time for a rematch!'

When Danny Amendola told the world on Tuesday that he's better than Tom Brady at ping pong, the quarterback must have been listening. 

On his Facebook page, Brady published a snarling image of his face Photoshopped onto the body of a table tennis player. That paddle he broke after losing to Amendola three years ago? It's fixed, Brady explained in the caption. And he's ready for a rematch.

Talk about intimidation.

https://www.facebook.com/TomBrady/photos/a.233362006704957.53331.214003275307497/1167235313317617/?type=3&theater

OFFSEASON

Blakely: Boston becoming a favored destination for free agents

Blakely: Boston becoming a favored destination for free agents

BOSTON -- In some circles the pursuit of Dwight Howard by the Boston Celtics is just as perplexing as Boston being one of the six teams getting an audience with Kevin Durant and, with that, a shot at the Durant sweepstakes this summer. 
 
Both serve as examples of how the Celts are no longer at the back of the line when it comes to being a potential destination for the best free agents. 
 
Of course it’s about sealing the deal, and getting the best free agents on the market under contract, and all that good stuff.
 
But before that can happen, Boston has to be seen as a place to even be seriously considered by free agents. That's exactly what we’re starting to see happen right now.
 
It’s easy to point to the Celtics having a ton of salary cap space, which in itself makes them a possible landing spot for players who we all know will be hauling in max to near-max salaries this offseason.
 
But there’s just one problem with that line of thought. More than half the league enters free agency with enough money to sign one max player.

The fact that Boston is on the short list for the summer’s top free agent (Durant) and have already secured a sit-down with one of the top centers (Howard) says a lot in terms of how far Boston has come in the eyes of players. 
 
And several factors point towards the Celtics getting an audience with other top-shelf free agents this summer if they fail to secure one or two of their top choices.
 
But let’s not kid ourselves. How others view this franchise is the reality of what the Celtics have to deal with when it comes to adding elite, upper-echelon talent like Durant. 
 
The fact that Durant is willing to include Boston in his short-list of teams is a bit of a head-scratcher when you see that the Celtics are the farthest away from the group in terms of competing for an NBA title (although an argument can be made that they are neck-and-neck with the Miami Heat along those lines). Durant has said in the past that would be something he would be looking for in whatever team he signed with.
 
The biggest selling point the Celtics have to offer Durant or any other free agent (besides money) is that they are a franchise on the rise, they have stability on the floor with Brad Stevens as the head coach, and they have stability in the front office with Danny Ainge. Both Stevens and Ainge signed long-term extensions earlier this month. 
 
And one of the perks that players who come to Boston quickly discover is the fan base, which is about as rabid a group as you'll find in the NBA.
 
There’s no mistaking they wear their emotions on their sleeves, whether it’s cheering the team on following a season-ending playoff loss, or booing the owner after the team makes a draft pick they don’t particularly care for. 
 
They bleed green!
 
Add all those things up and it’s clear that Boston has the kind of environment, the kind of culture, where a star can come and thrive. 
 
The Celtics and their fans have known this for a while.
 
Now it seems some of the game’s best players are starting to catch on, as well.

Wednesday, June 29: B's not in Stamkos sweepstakes?

cp-morning-skate.jpg

Wednesday, June 29: B's not in Stamkos sweepstakes?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while laughing out loud at the mental image of Bill Lee rolling joints for Peter Gammons.

-- Dion Phaneuf says he’ll be at the Stanley Cup Day for Phil Kessel even though he’s still waiting for his own playoff glory.

-- Former NHL player Bryan Berard, who was defrauded out of much of his hockey earnings by his former financial advisors, is speaking out so other players don't make the same mistake.

-- Bob McKenzie appears on Vancouver radio and never mentions the Bruins as one of the teams that might be in the running for Steven Stamkos.

-- FOH (Friend of Haggs) James Mirtle sits down with Brendan Shanahan to discuss Shanahan's plan to fix the Maple Leafs.

-- In the interest of self-promotion, here’s my hit with Toucher and Rich this morning about a possible Bruins' offer sheet for Jacob Trouba.

-- Player agent Allan Walsh thinks that the interview period prior to July 1 is a terrible thing.

-- The Florida Panthers hire Roberto Luongo’s younger brother Leo to be their AHL team’s goalie coach.

-- Kudos to the NHL and their Hockey is for Everyone campaign for bringing the beautiful game of hockey to inner-city youth.

-- You may need Google Translate for this, but it looks like Dale Weise has played his last game for the Montreal Canadiens.

-- For something completely different: As mentioned above, this Bill Lee interview with Toucher and Rich is a phantasmagorical experience.