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Wednesday, September 3, 2014
Ridley: New opportunity to 'light it up'

By Lee Schecter, Special to ESPNBoston.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Running back Stevan Ridley has had some tough times in New England, but he is looking forward to a fresh start in the season opener against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

“One-hundred percent,” Ridley said when asked if tough times make him stronger. “I’ve learned a lot over the four years. What I have learned is you have to leave the past in the past. This year is a new year, new opportunity. And I always said a little bit of adversity never hurts anybody.”

Stevan Ridley
Stevan Ridley says he's learned to move on after difficult times and is looking forward to a fresh start.
Ridley, who rushed for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2012 and 773 yards and seven TDs in 2013, knows about adversity. He has had eight fumbles -- seven since 2012 -- in his three seasons with the Patriots. Coach Bill Belichick has been known to sit him after a fumble, but Ridley is not going to let those moments dictate how he plays football.

“What I strive to do every day is try to be the best running back that I can be to help us be productive, to help us win games,” Ridley said. “That doesn’t mean I’m going to be perfect and that I’m going to be out there making a bunch of errors, but it does mean that I have every day to come out here and try to be better than I was the day before. And that’s all that I can do.”

The start of a new season provides a new opportunity for Ridley to be a key contributor in the Patriots’ ground attack.

“This year we are off to a fresh start in Miami week one and that’s how I’m taking it," he said. "I'm going out there, trying to light it up to be the best that I can be to help my teammates, to help the coaches and everybody around us.”

Ridley will have to run behind a different interior of the offensive line, specifically at left guard -- where Logan Mankins used to be.

“Love Logan to death, but Logan is not with us anymore,” Ridley said.

Ridley said he has confidence in himself and his offensive line despite Mankins’ departure.

“Regardless of who is up there we got to go out there and make plays," he said. "That’s believing in your teammates. That goes back to everything that we have said as far as trusting your teammates, trusting your coaches. They know what we have to do. They know what we’ve lost and they know what we are trying to get at the end of the year.

“Whatever we have out there, that’s what we are rolling with and that’s what we have 100 percent confidence in. ... We are going to be OK and we are going miss a guy like [Mankins] in the locker room. But he is doing his thing and he’s happy. So just got to keep pushing forward and doing what we do best and that’s just playing solid football.”