Monday, May 7, 2012
Full retirement speech from Matt Light
By Mike Rodak
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Offering Patriots offensive tackle Matt Light's full speech from his retirement ceremony on Monday at Gillette Stadium:
"Thank you. Okay, so there's been a lot swirling around in my head. First thing, is that I had a little bit of difficulty in my career in New England, basically because I've had trouble staying awake during meetings the moment someone starts talking. The minute [head coach] Bill [Belichick] began speaking, [my son] William was knocked out the first second. You keep that one long enough, you'll see this back at one of your meetings.
It's very difficult to say I'm going to miss a moment like this, with all the cameras and the lights, I don't think that would ever come out of my mouth. There's many things I've been thinking about the last few months. So many people have been part of this process. 11 years ago, I was just some kid from the Midwest who had a fairly decent career at Purdue University. Somehow made it to the draft. I ended up in an area that I never heard of; I didn't know where I was headed, didn't know what town. Didn't know anything about the Cape, White Mountains, the Massachusetts way of life -- fast and furious -- all the accents that come along with his region of the country. It didn't take long for me to feel at home, find my place, for my family for my lovely, beautiful, talented, incredibly awesome wife, Susie, who somehow got talked into marrying me right here in Massachusetts. And to our three incredible kids, one of which who decided that the aquarium was a better place to be today. To Grace and Collin and William, you guys are ther reason that every day is fun and exciting and and awesome. Thank you guys.
There are few things that have brought me more joy over my carer than to be a part of the rebuilding of the Patriots organization. Maybe that's the wrong way to describe it. In my 11 years here, I witnessed rookies that came in and headed into the End Zone [hotel], of all places, for their brief stint during minicamp and passing camp. If you've ever been to the, End Zone, it was a horrible place, you know why. But we've come a long way from the times of the old [Foxboro] Stadium, the End Zone, the old practice fields, everything about the 2001 season. Being as incredible as it was, especially as a rookie that couldn't make it to meetings on time. Pretty much I didn't do anything right, as Dante [Scarnecchia] said, I didn't know if the ball was pumped or stuff. I've come a long way, an incredible distance. But to be a part of it, I'm truly honored and blessed.
Mr. Kraft and his family, they really talk to you about leading by example, what you stand for and why you stand for it. When I think of Mr. Kraft and his entire family, and I think about all the work and how they dedicated themselves to making this team better, to making each individual player better, not just on the field, although it's a big part of it, it's very little of what this organization stands for. Sure, it's about excellence and performance at highest level, having success, winning. We're here to win. That was always a big part of every day. But the Kraft fmaily and the legacy that they leave behind through the players in that locker room and all the people that they touched through their business, is what I will always remember, what I am always most grateful for. To set the bar, that's a big part of my life. To grow up in that environment, experience all that. That's what made that journey absolutely incredible. I thank you, my family thanks you. I script a lot of things, trust me, but nothing could have ever ended up like this.
To Coach Belichick for all the demanding, just hard-headedness and genius that you bring to each and every day, and even though we've had some differences in the way we look at things. All the fun, I can't begin to tell you how great this has been and for taking that chance on me, and for sticking with me on some of the rough times, the sickness, injuries, many issues, I appreciate it. It meant a lot for me and my family to have this experience.
One of the things that gets lost for how we do things on and off the field -- there's more of a team and family concept than you will truly realize, or what young guys understand. The togetherness, it's the concept that really put us on the map. The reason why they'll always have continued success with this leadership, and the type of people they bring through this door, the coaching staff, it's an honor and privilege to be around. To all teammates [whom] I've upset and aggravated and laughed alongside with, and definitely fought in the trenches with, you guys made it all worthwhile. I'm not sure if I've had a real conversations outside of joking with any of you, in a while, but from the bottom of my heart, I played the game to be alongside guys like you. For the guys that I've been in the trenches with for a long time -- Brady, [Dan] Koppen, [Logan] Mankins, I'm not leaving out the rest of you for any good reason, the guys who've been around me the longest who truly know me, Kevin Faulk, you guys have put a real stamp on me as person, you have held me accountable to things I've done or said, pushed me each and every step, believed in me. To be honest, for a guy who doesn't have a lot of self-confidence -- it looks like I do, because I'm so dapper -- I play the game, but ultimately my confidence came through strength, it's meant a lot to me. Goofing around, finding some way to upset Dante and some other guy in the organization. If you ever need any guidance, you know I'm just sitting here and ready. Thank you all, you were incredible to be with.
Dante, who you saw in that video. Who he really is. He doesn't get real excited. He's not going to jump up and down for joy. If we win a game 100-0, there's at least 500 mental errors and 300 different ways to improve and get better. It was because of that drive, never being satisfied with anything, never getting too big or bitches or having a head too large, keeping everybody on same level playing field, regardless of accolades that really propelled our room, our group of guys, our core group on the offensive line to continue to go hard, go out there, not give up any big plays, to set the example. When all the defensive linemen were literally [gesturing] -- I don't know, something [coach Pepper Johnson] and other guys had to do look like they were working. We were over there dying every practice. even though we didn't like it, it was what we needed, and you always held us accountable,. I appreciate every minute of all that work, for what's it's done.
For the rest of the people who make up the organization. [Don Brocher], John [Hillebrand], everybody in the equipment room, that constantly had to deal with me for 16th straight week for shoes, for the million other things, I can't thank you enough. All the lunch ladies -- as one little comedian put in a song, the lunch ladies -- Peter, Donnie, you guys fed us, made us fat and happy. The one little refuge, to go into the lunchroom, get away from things, get fat and happy, always good to see their faces, be around them. Nancy Meier, she's like a mother, a den mother for all the unrulies down below here, thank you for setting up everything so that I could hopefully walk through and make things easy. She always went the extra mile. She's been here though so many different coaches, organizational changes, things of that nature. I appreciate everything. Berj [Najarian], Matt [Caracciolo], Kevin Anderson, Stacey James, people that I'm always calling on for things, in and out of the football world, all the commitment you made to not just me and every player in the locker room, thanks. To the [massage therapist] who kept me on the field after the pain would set in, the massage and everything else, and finally my family and friends and the people who have been there for the foundation. I consider you all family. This has been my home.
This is really, I guess if there was a legacy to leave behind, it would all start in Massachusetts. I personally can't find the words to tell you what it's meant for you to jump on the causes that we've tried to champion. My players, the guys that I played with, giving up their one and only day off to support the foundation and the work that we feel is really needed, to all the volunteers and the people who have stood strong and made everything that we do a success, and all my family that continually push me to do more and to think of others, and to do things for the right reason, and to lead, and to be real, which is our theme in the Light Foundation. I've met more real people in this part of the country, that isn't my home from birth, but is a place that I will always consider home. A place that we're excited to raise our family in and a community that we know stands for each other and for doing things the right way. I've met many real people, and I'm so thankful for all of you for touching my life.
All the little impacts, it's a little overwhelming. Real -- responsible, ethical, accountable, leadership -- those are our values that we hang our hat on in the foundation. Kids programs, that's the legacy that I hope to leave. To not just my kids and not just the people who are around me, but hopefully for a long time through what we've been able to build with these people in the New England community. For the experiences that I've been able to enjoy and be a part of, I'm truly grateful, truly blessed, and look forward to next chapter. If I knew what it was, I would explain, but I'm really looking forward to it, thank you all very much.
I kind of wanted to end it with this. I always look to something that someone else has said. When I was looking through a list of different quotes, I found one from Aristotle. It was fitting to not only where I'm at in my life, but experiences I've had in this organization, but all the people I've met: "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." We hear it here five thousand times a week. Just worry about yourself, not others, make it part of your routine. Keep striving to do it better and better. The excellence we all shared as an organization, teammates, friends, everyone else. It's not just as an act, it's a habit, it's how we live our lives, what we try to do day-in and day-out. I hope this habit continues. Thank you."