RB Ridley not spotted at practice

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots running back Stevan Ridley was not spotted at the start of Friday's practice, marking the third straight day in which he was not present. This naturally puts his status in doubt for Sunday's game against the Bengals.

If Ridley does not play, it likely thrusts LeGarrette Blount into a leading role.

The Patriots also have second-year running back Brandon Bolden, although he has been limited in practice with a knee injury. Veteran change-of-pace option Leon Washington also could be part of the mix, but he's been limited with a thigh injury (he only played in Week 2).

Elsewhere, special teams captain Matthew Slater returned to practice for the first time since injuring his wrist Sept. 12 against the Jets. Slater had a black cast on his left wrist.

One other observation from practice: Many players wore pink footwear, a reminder of the NFL's Breast Cancer Awareness campaign.