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Stevan Ridley fired up to play Patriots, who let him leave

Running backs Stevan Ridley (22) and Chris Ivory

Running backs Stevan Ridley (22) and Chris Ivory (33) leave the field after practice at the NY Jets Atlantic Health Training Center on Friday, Aug. 7, 2015 in Florham Park. Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Stevan Ridley's face said it all.

This is the moment he's been envisioning. And this is the team he wants to face most of all: New England.

"The story couldn't be written any better,'' said the former Patriots running back, who signed with the Jets in April. "Just to say that I went out a year ago and I'm coming back against my old team, it's kind of crazy. I don't think you can make a movie better than that. How much I'll play is totally up to Coach and I'm fine with whatever he calls, if it's two plays or it's 20 plays.''

The ACL and MCL tears he suffered last season, and the year-long recovery that awaited him, were the impetus for Ridley's departure from Foxborough. When the Patriots chose not to re-sign him, Ridley found a new home in New Jersey.

"It's in the bank of motivation for me,'' he said of parting ways with the defending Super Bowl champions. "That's the team that I was on, that was the team that I was connected to. And I'm no longer there. So guess what? I'm with my new boys, man. And I'm with a new team that's doing tremendous.''

Ridley became eligible to return to practice this week after beginning the season on the physically unable to perform list. But Todd Bowles has yet to say definitively that he'll play.

"It all depends on what we determine, whether we need a third or fourth back and those type of things,'' Bowles said Thursday. "He ran around more today. Again, he's been out for a while.''

Ridley, however, spoke as if he expects to be on the field Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

"I mean, wouldn't you be if you were able to come back?'' he asked, smiling. "I can't go into the game saying that I'm ready to sit on the bench. No. I'm ready to play. And I'm excited about that chance.''

Ridley has amassed 2,817 rushing yards and 22 touchdowns on 649 carries since entering the NFL in 2011. But although he said "my body's fresh and I'm ready to go,'' he added, "I'd be lying if I said I could just go out there and I'm just 100 percent right now, today. I mean, nobody is that good.''

He's just trying to ease his way into an offense that is flourishing behind workhorse running back Chris Ivory, who was named the FedEx Ground NFL Player for the second time in three weeks.

"There's a group of guys that have been getting it done all year,'' Ridley said. "So I'm not the magic piece to come in and push everybody to the side. No. I'm just trying to come in here and find my role, find my niche, whatever that may be.''

Notes & quotes: CB Buster Skrine (concussion) practiced on a limited basis wearing a red, non-contact jersey. WR Brandon Marshall, an addition to the injury report because of a sore calf, also was limited, as were G Willie Colon (knee), WRs Eric Decker (knee) and Chris Owusu (knee) and CB Marcus Williams (hamstring).


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