|Veteran wide receiver Patten retires||07.31.10 at 10:34 am ET|
FOXBORO — Veteran wide receiver David Patten announced his retirement Saturday.
The 35-year-old, who played with the Patriots from 2001 until 2004, re-signed with New England this past February as a free agent after being out of the league for the entire 2009 season. He said he felt good after a couple of days of training camp, but instead, it was the mental grind that he found himself unable to deal with.
“When you lose it mentally, you can’t play at this level,” Patten said. “You can’t play at a high level.”
“He’s had a tremendous career,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who was clearly emotional regarding the announcement. “He’s meant a lot to this team and a lot to this organization. … From the bottom of my heart, I thank him for his contributions to this football team.”
Patten, who informed the team of his decision today, said one of the reasons he decided to return was because of his close friendship with quarterback Tom Brady. He said he didn’t tell Brady about his decision to retire before he spoke with teammates Saturday morning.
“I kind of felt like he would try and talk me out of it,” Patten said with a smile. “He can be pretty persuasive when he wants to be.”
Patten also said Saturday morning he had not told his family, saying it was “spur of the moment” decision.
In a press conference that last roughly 20 minutes, he took the chance to reflect on a career that included some impressive milestones — in 12 seasons and 147 regular-season games with the Giants, Browns, Patriots, Redskins and Saints, Patten had 324 receptions for 4,715 yards.
With New England, his best season came in 2002, when he had 61 catches for 824 yards and five touchdowns, and was a part of all three Super Bowl-winning teams. In addition, Patten became the sixth player in NFL history to run, catch, and throw for a touchdown, doing it in an October 2001 win over Indianapolis.
He reflected on some of the highlights, which he said included the Super Bowl XXXVI win over the Rams (where he scored the only offensive touchdown for New England, hauling in an eight-yard touchdown pass from Brady), a dramatic catch against Chicago that allowed the Patriots to come away with a 2002 win over the Bears and a game from that same season against the Chiefs where he had seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.
“Not bad for a kid, undersized out of Columbia, South Carolina,” he said with a smile. “Amazing.”
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