No rest for the Ridley

Published 12:02 am Friday, April 6, 2012

BATON ROUGE — Offseason training doesn’t just mean staying in shape physically for New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley.

The former Trinity Episcopal and LSU standout also makes sure to keep his Mohawk in shape. On Wednesday afternoon, Ridley took the time in between workouts to visit his favorite barbershop on the campus of LSU.

“It’s the same one I’ve been getting it cut at the last four years, Campus Cuts,” Ridley said. “If anyone follows me on Facebook, they know that Mule is the guy that started my Mohawk during my freshman year (at LSU). When I came in, my hair was bald, and I’ve been coming to him ever since.”

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But Ridley knows he has to take the offseason seriously, which is why he’s spent much of it in Baton Rouge staying in shape. He and former teammate Kelvin Sheppard, who now plays for the Buffalo Bills, have been training together with LSU strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt.

“I figure Coach Moffitt has gotten us where we are now, so there’s no point in changing that,” Ridley said.

Ridley and Sheppard lift every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and they also do Yogalates every Tuesday and Thursday. Ridley said he considers Moffitt the best college strength coach in the country and said Moffitt’s intensity is the reason he gets so much out of his players.

“He just stays on us,” Ridley said. “Whether you’re a former or current player, it’s hard to slack off in the weight room, because he expects you to work. He just drives you to be the best player you can be.”

Ridley said he will be in Natchez for the weekend but will head out next Tuesday to Boston to work out with the Patriots. Fresh off the heels of his team making the Super Bowl, Ridley said the experience was a bittersweet feeling for him.

“I was honored and thankful I got to experience it, but the competitor in me makes me hate to lose that game (to the Giants),” Ridley said. “It’s an emotion I’ll never get rid of, and I’m just motivated for us to get back there.”

Ridley also said not getting to play in the game gives him a little extra motivation. Fumbles in the final regular-season game against the Bills and the first postseason game against the Broncos are the likely reason the team opted not to play him in the Super Bowl, Ridley said.

“They never told me a reason for not playing, but honestly, two fumbles back-to-back, you just can’t do that,” Ridley said. “The ball being on the ground is not an option.

“They didn’t trust me enough to put me on the field, and that’s something that will motivate me. I’ll focus on my weaknesses this year, and the first thing is ball security.”

Ridley said he’s not going to allow himself to over-worry when it comes to holding onto the football, however.

“I can’t worry about it to the point where I’m stressed out, but I always have to be conscious about ball security,” he said. “I just have to go out and be the player God created me to be.”

As he reviews his rookie season, Ridley said he’s thankful God gave him the opportunity to play in the NFL, but he’s focused now on how he can better himself as he prepares for season two.

“I always evaluate myself at the end of the year, and then I set goals for the following year,” Ridley said. “I always go into the next year looking to do better than last year. I look back on the good and the bad, but I have to push myself to be even better.”

Ridley said he’ll be visiting with people from Natchez during his time home, including former high school coach David King.

Ridley said King’s recent move from Trinity to Adams County Christian School is going to be an adjustment for Ridley, but he understands that King has to do what’s best for himself.

“It’s tough, because anytime I think of David King, I associate Trinity Episcopal to him,” Ridley said. “He’s a father figure, and he’s close to me. I hate that they had to go their separate ways, but I’m going to honor them both.”