Monday, May 7, 2012
Wrapping up Matt Light Day
By Mike Rodak
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- A few wrap-up thoughts from Matt Light's retirement ceremony at Gillette Stadium on Monday:
Light had discussed retirement with teammates last season. While Monday was Light's formal retirement announcement, this decision had been long in the making, earlier even than this offseason, when rumors began to swirl that Light was ready to end his career. Guard Logan Mankins told reporters that Light had discussed his impending decision with teammates last season, even after signing a two-year deal in August. It's unclear if Light let the team in on his contemplation, although the fact that Patriots drafted tackle Nate Solder in the first round last season likely meant that they were anticipating Light's departure, either through free agency or retirement.
"Love-hate relationship." The phrase of the day was a "love-hate relationship," which is how both offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and head coach Bill Belichick described their relationship with Light. Ever the prankster, you got the sense that Light's personality may have clashed at times with Belichick's, although the two appear to share a mutual respect. Wrapping up his comments, Belichick thanked Light for "a lot of levity that we probably need around here," but added "most of which I'll miss, but not all of it." Belichick, Light, and owner Robert Kraft all shared stories of their eleven seasons together.
Kraft plans to honor Light during game. Owner Robert Kraft said that the team plans to honor Light at halftime of a game this coming season, much like what the team did for Tedy Bruschi in 2010. Kraft said a specific date has not yet been set.
Mankins wearing no brace; Waters absent. Among the several offensive linemen present was guard Logan Mankins, who underwent surgery for an ACL injury in his left knee after the Super Bowl. Mankins walked around the ceremony without a knee brace, or any noticeable limp, but told reporters he would discuss his recovery at a later date.
Meanwhile, veteran guard Brian Waters, who told reporters after the Super Bowl that he would consider retirement, was not present at the announcement. Reports a few weeks ago stated that Waters was not participating in voluntary team workouts. The team's full-squad, mandatory minicamp in mid-June will provide a better opportunity to gauge Waters' status heading into this season. Guard Robert Gallery was also not present, but is expected to speak to reporters later this week.
EXTRA POINT: Not to be lost in the Matt Light festivities, the Patriots announced the previously reported signing of wide receiver Jabar Gaffney on Monday afternoon.