BROCKTON, Mass. — The Kevin Faulk Celebrity Softball Game featured New England Patriots running backs of the past and present — but not those yet to come.
Faulk, Shane Vereen, Stevan Ridley, Brandon Bolden and Harold Shaw were on hand for the charity softball game, and the rookies backs were where they should be — back in Foxboro catching up on the playbook. Vereen praised the rookies, saying James White, Stephen Houston and Roy Finch already have made progress.
“They’re coming along good,” Vereen said Saturday before his Red Team (filled with all of the running backs) lost 7-6 to the Blue Team in the softball game. “They got a lot to learn, but they’re doing fine so far. Steps ahead of where I was at this point in the game. They’re good. They’re good guys, they learn well and they give it their all every day.
“Beause it’s a lot. We got a lot going in, and they’re doing well with it. At this stage — in my rookie year — we were locked out. So, I was just thrown in the fire. It’s good for them to come in now and get their feet wet.”
Vereen said last month that his broken wrist still isn’t 100 percent, but he wouldn’t put an exact number on how far the injury is coming along. Vereen played through the ailment with a cast after he came off short-term injured reserve in Week 10.
“Feeling good. Feeling good,” Vereen said. “Each and every day it’s getting better.
“I wouldn’t put a percentage on it. It’s getting better each and every day. It was good enough to play last year, it will be good enough to play this year.”
The fourth-year running back is entering a contract year, and he could have some competition from White, whom Patriots head coach Bill Belichick compared to Vereen after the draft. At the very least, Vereen will have a solid pass-catching backup this year — a role he played for two years behind Faulk and Danny Woodhead.