Ridley looks to 'close out games' in backfield


Ridley looks to 'close out games' in backfield

By Danny Picard

FOXBORO -- Two of the New Englands last three picks on Friday wererunning backs. And following the selection of Shane Vereen in the second round,came the selection of Louisiana State University tailback Stevan Ridley in the third round, at 73 overall.

Ridley described the entire draft process as a dream cometrue and described himself as a tough runner, for those who dont watch muchSEC football.

My running styles pretty simple, said Ridley in aconference call on Friday night. Im not a blazer by any means, but I just getthe ball, and try to go there and do what I can with it. Im a downhill runnerthats going to fight for the tough yards. And I just give my all. I play withmy whole heart every game.

With that tough running ability at 5-foot-11, 225 pounds,Ridley said his biggest strength is closing out games. At least, that was hisjob at LSU: run hard in between the tackles and run out the clock with theoffense on the field.

When the fourth quarter comes around, you need that runninggame to go in there and finish it out, said Ridley. I think I get stronger asthe game goes on.

As for a weakness, Ridley sounded somewhat concerned withhis blocking, but as the other previous Patriots draft picks have said thisweekend, he trusts in the New England coaching staff to make it work.

Im going in there to play, said Ridley. I know how toblock, but my technique can always be better. I just have to go in there, andbe ready to improve as a player, and focus on what these coaches are willing toteach me. And I think that Ill be OK at the end of the year.

New England couldnt have been any more perfect, he said. Itsa team that has a history of LSU players. Its a team that wins championships.So Im just looking forward to going into New England, and playing with a lotof guys that knows what it takes to win, and becoming a part of this team.

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Patriots officially side with Brady vs. NFL by filing amicus brief


Patriots officially side with Brady vs. NFL by filing amicus brief

Robert Kraft and the Patriots organization have been saying for a long time that they hope Tom Brady prevails in his fight with the league over Deflategate. Kraft reiterated that stance on Tuesday at the NFL's annual spring meetings.

But on Wednesday, the Patriots took their support for Brady to a different platform. The team has filed an amicus brief stating that it supports Brady and the NFLPA now that the union has filed a petition to be granted a rehearing by the Second Circuit. 

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, it is a noteworthy move because the last time an NFL team took legal action against league was when late Raiders owner Al Davis sued the NFL. It is important to note, though, as SI.com's Michael McCann explains, that the Patriots have not actually "switched sides" in this instance. As one of 32 teams in the league, they are technically still a part of the NFL Management Council et al. v. NFL Players Association et al. With its amicus brief, however, the team is advocating for a rehearing of a case that the NFL recently won. 

Filing the brief may not necessarily have any legal impact on the case -- judges can ignore the team's opinion in its amicus brief if they so choose -- but its value may be more than simply symbolic in nature. Attorney Daniel Wallach notes that the team's amicus brief covers ground that Brady's petition for rehearing couldn't cover due to page limits. 

On the first page of the amicus brief, in the document's second footnote, the language is strong: "From the outset of this matter, the League's conduct reflects less a search for the truth than pursuit of a pre-determined result and defense of a report which, despite no direct evidence of tampering or Mr. Brady's involvement, was reiled on to impose penalties with no precedent or correlation to the alleged offense."

The Patriots have continued to update The Wells Report in Context, a website that argues the findings of the NFL's investigation into Brady that has also accumulated various reports and scientific studies that support Brady's innocence. But this amicus brief is another way for the team to show that it has its quarterback's back. 

The NFLPA filed its petition for a rehearing on Monday and now awaits a decision from the 13 judges of the Second Circuit as to whether or not they will grant Brady a rehearing.

Statistically speaking, Brady is facing long odds to be given a rehearing, but his legal team believes there's reason for optimism