June 12, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen (34) takes questions from reporters after mini camp at the Gillette Stadium practice facility. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE
With Patriots mandatory minicamps getting kicked off on Tuesday, the competition between players for playing time officially began. For the next few weeks, until the end of Training Camp, each player will suspend any close relations they had with teammates that play their position, until this fierce competition is over.
While this ideal may be true for a few players, it certainly doesn't apply for two players on the Patriots roster. Second year running backs Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley are the best of competitors, but are starting to become the best of friends on the field.
Both players will factor into the team's 2012 plans, but it's unclear how big a role both players will receive in the team's backfield. However, when it's all said and done, both players are focused on helping each other more than hurt each others chances getting more playing time. For Ridley, he values the relationship that he and Vereen have been able to form.
"Absolutely. Like you said, to have a guy that you came in with. Shane is actually my next door neighbor, so not only is he a good teammate, but he's my neighbor. We spend a lot of time breaking down the playbook together, studying it together and trying to better each other. I'm running things off of Shane, Shane is running things off of me and we're really working together. It's a team concept here at the Patriots and that's what we need to continue to do if we want to be successful."
For Vereen, he believes that the bond between the two started right after last year's draft, when they were selected with consecutive picks by the Patriots, and just went from there.
"I definitely think so because we're going through the same struggles on the field and off the field at the same time. Both of our heads were spinning 100 miles an hour last year. It's a very good bond between me and Stevan."