FOXBORO -- After two days in shells, the Patriots put the pads on Saturday.
And in short order, Stevan Ridley was put on the ground. On consecutive plays.
It's only worth remarking upon because the style in camp is to "thump" or wrap a ball carrier then release him. But on Saturday, Ridley got knocked horizontal by cornerback Ras-I Dowling. On the next play, safety Patrick Chung grabbed hold of the 220-pound Ridley and flipped him to the ground.
While Dowling's hit seemed incidental, it was pretty clear Chung was looking to get a training camp tackle under his belt. For that, Bill Belichick sent Chung for a lap around the goal post.
I asked Ridley about the hits Sunday afternoon.
"I didn't even see Ras-I," Ridley explained. "Ras-I hit me and it was like he came out of nowhere almost. I asked when we got in the locker room, 'Where did you come from?' and he said, 'Rid, I was right there!' Man, I didn't even see him. I was just running and he hit me on the side when I was finishing a run -- coaches tell us to finish the runs, you don't want a DB running you out of bounds. Chung just kind of tied me up, but that's camp."
With more than 10,000 fans in the stands every afternoon to watch tag football that becomes bloodsport in September, any play that results in a clash of pads and a rolling human is celebrated.
And Ridley's happy to oblige.
"Everybody's excited, everybody's trying to get that contact in and we're just trying to get into football shape," he explained. "I'm not worried about it. I'm sitting at 220, a little bit bigger back. I'm gonna be on the ground some, as long as I'm falling forward, I'm doing my job."