Patriots rookies bond during lockout

Running backs Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley were guests on ESPN Boston Radio this afternoon, and both touched on how they've grown closer with some members of the rookie class through the lockout. Vereen and Ridley are currently attending the 2011 Topps Rookie Premiere in Los Angeles, and their appearance on ESPN Boston Radio was in conjunction with the event.

"It's been cool, because we really don't know what to expect," said Vereen, one of the Patriots' second-round draft choices (56th overall). "So talking to other guys, hearing their experience, it helps. Just getting to know my future teammates is always good."

Added Ridley: "Shane and Ryan, I've been in touch them a pretty good bit. We've been hanging out here in California and kind of enjoying the time together. We're going to be [spending] the next 3 or 4 years together. We're the future, so we're trying to bond early and come together as a team so we can be one unit."

Both Vereen and Ridley touched on their style of play, with Vereen saying he prides himself on being on all-around back, and Ridley noting that he considers himself a short-yardage back who can also rip off a long run. Vereen has long admired Walter Payton, while Ridley said he takes pride in finishing off games and getting the tough yards in the fourth quarter.