FOXBOROUGH -- The Patriots and Buccaneers held a half-speed practice Thursday afternoon, the final training camp session of the year for New England. Tom Brady, who suffered a minor left knee injury Wednesday and did not complete that day's practice, was present and participated, taking reps with the first-team offense per usual.
Just as it was a scary moment for Patriots fans to see Brady go down, his teammates were nervous as well.
"With Brady back out there, for us it’s a great sign," said running back Stevan Ridley. "It was a scary moment, but with Tom, I know he’s a competitor, he’s going to do whatever to get out there. I’m just glad they took him out, checked him out, made sure he was good. My heart’s at peace knowing he’s OK."
Ridley said players knew not long after practice ended Wednesday that Brady's injury was not serious.
The running back acknowledged just how important the quarterback is to the Patriots.
"That’s our leader, man. I’ll say that first and foremost – we ride with Tom Brady all the way," Ridley said. "Anytime you see somebody go down like that, everything stops in front of you, but for us, we just have to move on, hope for the best, and that’s what we did.
"We found out later that day in team meetings that he was OK and that’s all the news we needed to hear – that our quarterback was going to be with us and not have any major surgeries or anything. So we’re relieved."
Asked if he believes Brady will play against Tampa Bay Friday night, Ridley said, "I know he's going to be there when it counts. When the season matters the most, Tom's going to be out there. I just don't want us to rush him or anything like that. I think Tom will make the right decision and the coaches will too."