FOXBOROUGH (CBS) — The New England Patriots, owner Robert Kraft and head coach Bill Belichick celebrated Matt Light’s storied career on Monday morning.
The 11-year veteran and three-time Super Bowl champion officially announced his retirement at The Hall at Patriots Place, but before he got the chance to speak for himself, the owner and coach had a few words to share.
“On the field, he was a tenacious competitor who had one of the toughest jobs,” Kraft said of Light. “Every week, he’s be going up against the greatest athlete on the defensive line, who was coming after our quarterback’s blind side. Off the field, he was the guy who kept it L-I-G-H-T for everyone else. He brought humor and high jinks to the locker room and meeting rooms since the days we drafted him.”
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Light, 33, was drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 2001 draft. Belichick noted on Monday that Light was late for his first game as a rookie, which cost him a start, but that the left tackle was able to reduce his mental errors from 19 in 2001 to just two in 2012.
“Matt has been the definition of a dependable, durable, consistent player who has held one of the toughest positions in the game for a long time and made it a strong point on our team,” Belichick said. “It’s been a pleasure to coach Matt for these 11 years. ”
Light retires as a four-time Pro Bowler for the Patriots, who went 134-42 in the regular season and 16-6 in the postseason during his career.
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While retirement ceremonies can often lead to tearful goodbyes from the players, Light appeared to be very much at peace with his decision, saying he wanted to walk away from the game without major injury and to be more available for his wife and children.
“I really look forward to the next chapter,” he said.