FOXBORO -- The last time the Patriots had a brilliant, young running back they could hand the ball to 20-plus times per game?
About 1997 when Curtis Martin was in his final season here.
But as scintillating as Stevan Ridley's been this season, Bill Belichick indicated Monday he's not going to ride with Ridley regardless.
Ridley's late fumble when the Patriots were trying to eat clock added some unnecessary drama to the Patriots 31-21 win. It also soiled a 28-carry, 151-yard performance by the second-year back.
Last season, Ridley was put in mothballs after fumbling twice (one lost) late in the year. Asked how he would handle Ridley's playing time going forward this season, Belichick said, "There's nothing more important than possession of the ball. We can't afford to lose it, it's as simple as that."
What that means for Sunday's game in Seattle, we'll have to wait and see. But Belichick stressed the amount of time the team spends working on making sure the ball isn't dropped by anyone anytime.
"We work on ball security with every player that handles the ball. Every week. Every day," said Belichick. "That includes everybody that touches the ball. Center. Quarterback. Running backs, receivers, punters, kickers, snappers, returners, defenders when they get it if they happen to get it on a turnover. We talk and work on ball security every day with everybody. Everybody who handles it, it's important. It's the highest priority with everybody."
Ridley has 490 yards on 102 carries this season.
BOSTON -- Former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez's fiancee testified in his double-murder trial Thursday that she learned to keep her mouth shut and "not to ask any questions" in certain situations.
Shayanna Jenkins-Hernandez testified against Hernandez under a grant of immunity from prosecutors. She and Hernandez have a 4-year-old daughter. She said she took Hernandez's last name in 2015.
Hernandez is accused of fatally shooting two men in Boston in July 2012 after an encounter at a Boston nightclub. He is also charged with witness intimidation in the shooting of Alexander Bradley, allegedly to silence him about the killings.
Jenkins-Hernandez repeatedly said she could not recall details about conversations with Hernandez after the 2012 killings and after Bradley's shooting in 2013.
She said she didn't ask Hernandez for details about Bradley's shooting, even though Hernandez and Bradley were close friends.
"[Bradley] was not my friend . . . Yes, it's a sad situation [but] why should I press about something like that?" she said.
Jenkins-Hernandez also said she did not recall getting a call from Hernandez at 2:37 a.m. on July 16, 2012, minutes after prosecutors say Hernandez shot Daniel de Abreu and Safiro Furtado as they sat in a car at a stop light in Boston. Prosecutors said phone records show a 17-second call from Hernandez to her at that time.
Hernandez has denied shooting the men. His lawyer told the jury during opening statements that Bradley shot the men over a drug deal.
Bradley testified he saw Hernandez shoot the men. He also said Hernandez shot him in the face months later after he made a remark about the Boston shootings.
Hernandez is already serving a life sentence after being convicted in the 2013 killing of a man who was dating the sister of Jenkins-Hernandez.
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald talks with Toucher and Rich about the report that the Patriots inquired what the price would be to acquire Seahawks Pro Bowl corner Richard Sherman via trade.