Stevan Ridley to play vs. Browns

Updated: December 8, 2013, 11:39 AM ET
By Field Yates | ESPNBoston.com

After being deactivated last week against the Houston Texans following three straight games with a fumble, New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley will play Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.

[+] EnlargeStevan Ridley
John Leyba/The Denver Post/Getty ImagesThe Patriots' Stevan Ridley, who hasn't played since fumbling against the Broncos in Week 12, will play Sunday vs. the Browns.

Ridley, the team's leading rusher, has struggled with fumbles throughout his career (he's lost four this season), and the team turned to Shane Vereen, LeGarrette Blount and Brandon Bolden in his absence last week.

Bolden was inactive for Sunday's game against the Browns.

After fumbling on the team's opening drive in a Week 12 victory against the Denver Broncos, Ridley was sent to the bench and has not played since. Ball security concerns during his rookie season in 2011 led to Ridley being deactivated in the AFC Championship Game and then not playing a single offensive snap in the Super Bowl that season.

What remains unclear is how big of a role Ridley will play Sunday. He politely declined to speak to reporters throughout the week, though Vereen gave Ridley a vote of confidence.

"Stevan is a great player," Vereen said. "We're there when he needs us. But he knows what he has to do and we fully expect him to do that."

In 10 games played this season, Ridley has 135 rushes for 576 yards and seven rushing touchdowns, all team highs.

ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter contributed to this report.

Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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