FOXBOROUGH — After banging into each other for five consecutive days, it was not entirely unexpected that there would be a dust-up at some point during the Patriots’ training camp.
On Tuesday, tempers flared between cornerback Kyle Arrington and running back Stevan Ridley when Arrington leveled the 5-foot-11-inch, 220-pound Ridley after the third-year back out of Louisiana State came running out of the backfield on the right side during a goal line drill at the end of practice.
Ridley, who proved fumble-prone when he committed a pair of turnovers on the first day of full pads Sunday, held onto the ball after he got hit, got to his feet and flung the ball at Arrington, who retaliated by shoving Ridley back.
It never got any further than that. With ESPN’s cameras on hand, and a remote studio set up in a nearby corner of the upper practice field, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick did not allow it to escalate when he quickly nipped it in the bud by blowing his whistle and signaling an end to practice.
“It’s just camp, man,” said Ridley, when asked about the altercation with Arrington. “That’s all I can say about it. We’re competitors out here and we’re working hard out here and the days are getting long and that’s part of it.”
As he walked off the field, though Ridley was spotted arguing with Aqib Talib over the necessity of Arrington’s hit, especially at the tail end of Tuesday afternoon’s practice before an estimated crowd of about 7,000 at the upper practice field behind Gillette Stadium.
Arrington, though, said he didn’t think there would be any lingering issues with Ridley.
The Patriots will be off Wednesday before resuming full contact workouts on Thursday afternoon.
“It’s all love, you know,” Arrington said. “Whatever happens on the field, stays on the field. It’s an emotional game that’s played between emotional people and it’s all good. It’s all love, though, it’s all love at the end of the day.”
Asked if he felt the need to address the matter with Ridley, Arrington replied, “At this point of camp, you’re tired of going up against the same guys in camp every day. So tempers flare, but like I said, it stays on the field.”