Wednesday, April 18, 2012
A Million Reports Say That Matt Light Will Retire This Offseason
It hasn't been officially recognized yet by the Patriots, he's still listed on the active roster on their team website, but multiple reports today stated what many believed all offseason: Light will retire before next season begins.
By nature, offensive linemen are always underrated and unappreciated in football. The saying goes that you only notice them when they make a mistake: give up a sack, get called for a penalty or can't block a guy, leading to a loss of yards for a running back.
At left tackle, Light was a three-time Pro Bowler (2006, 2007, 2010) and he was part of a team that won eight AFC East division championships, five AFC Championships and three Super Bowls. The Patriots won the first three Super Bowls that he played in (2002 vs. St. Louis, 2004 vs. Carolina, 2005 vs. Philadelphia) but lost the last two (2008 vs. Giants, 2012 vs. Giants).
Coming out of Purdue in 2001 (2nd round, 48th overall), Light will go down as one of the best linemen in franchise history and he's a sure bet for the Patriots Hall of Fame in a few years. He protected Tom Brady's blindside for that entire time while also being a go-to guy for the media and a team leader. He was classy, well-spoken, tough and he possessed a great sense of humor.
New England drafted Nate Solder last season with the obvious plan to replace Light, who appeared to be on his last legs. All Light did in 2011 was go out and have one of his best seasons as a pro. It's a shame that he couldn't go out on the highest note: with one final Super Bowl ring. However, I really respect that he wants to go out while he's still a great player rather than hang around for way too long like most pro athletes do. He must be ready to move on to the next challenge.
It was easy for a while to say that Light couldn't block speed-rushers like Indy's Dwight Freeney but we'll see what life without Light is like beginning in August. I'm sure Brady must be depressed since not only does he lose one of his most trusted teammates, but it means that only him and Kevin Faulk (likely to retire as well) are the only players left from the three Super Bowl winning squads.
Thanks for everything Matt, Patriots fans will never forget all you gave to the organization both on and off the field. Best of luck with the next step in your life.