Brady, Gronkowski, Ochocinco, Mayo and others weigh in on Matt Light’s career
|05.07.12 at 4:08 pm ET|
Here’s a collection of quotes from former teammates and coaches about Matt Light, who officially announced his retirement Monday morning.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady: ‘An exceptional player and an exceptional person and teammate. He played on out left side for 11 great seasons, in the biggest games on the biggest stages. He’s a really unique player and a unique person. He really allowed offensively to be very versatile in the things we did because of his versatility. Every week the left tackle goes up against the best the other team has to offer, whether it’s Jason Taylor or Dwight Freeney or Aaron Schobel ‘ and these are guys Matt faced week in and week out ‘ we never gave Matt help over there, he was on his own. He was a fun player to be around, he was tough, he was physical, he was a great example. He certainly brought some levity to the room. He has a great sense of humor. He did a lot of great things in the community and he’s still doing those things. He’s one of my favorite teammates I’ve ever had. I’m certainly going to miss him and I’m still going to try to talk him out of retirement because I still want him back here for a few more years.’
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski: ‘Matt’s one of the greatest players I ever played with; he’s been a tackle here for a while. He had a great year last year and I’m definitely disappointed he’s retiring. He wasn’t just a great player, he’s also a friend and a character too ‘ always in the locker room having fun, busting teammates with some jokes all the time, getting the locker room flowing, having fun during training camp. He brought a lot of energy to the table, a lot of smarts. He was our team representative for the NFLPA. It just shows what a great guy he is overall in every department ‘ smarts, football and everything. He’s definitely going to be missed, we’re going to miss him and best of luck to him from here on out.’
Purdue coach Danny Hope, Light’s position coach from 1998-2000: ‘Matt is the best I’ve been around. He is an outstanding leader, a great teammate and an unbelievable person. He brought all of those qualities to the game, and was a real difference-maker both on and off the field.’
Patriots center Dan Koppen: ‘I became really close friends with Matt over the last 10 years. I will miss the way he goes about his business every day and he goes out and plays hard with the consistency he gives on a daily and game-in and game-out basis. You never questioned what you were going to get out of him. He had a tremendous career and will be missed.’
Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins: ‘It’s a little weird. I’ve been with Matt for seven years. We played next to each other and it’s been great. He’s been a great teammate, great friend. It’s a little surreal still. You don’t believe he’s leaving. It’s hard to imagine going to practice or playing in a game and not having Matt sit behind me on the bus. We sat next to each other on the plane and he was a locker mate pretty close to me. It’s going to be a little different this season, my first season without Matt. Matt had a model career that a lot of guys would love to have. His technique was flawless.’
Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo: ‘Matt Light was a great guy. He had a great career here. He really took me under his wing as far as giving back to the community in the New England area. He does a lot of things for different charities and has a great charity of his own. I wish him all the best. Go Matt Light!’
Patriots wide receiver Chad Ochocino: ‘In my short period of time here, I got a chance to know Matt fairly well; very good dude. I’m pretty upset he didn’t take me hunting ‘ it’s one of the things I’ve been waiting for. As far as a player, he’s very insightful, a cool guy, down to earth. I’m sorry to see him go in such a short stint for me being here. He’s been part of this organization for a long time; he’s done a lot for this organization. I guess he says his time is up.’
Patriots assistant head coach/o-line coach Dante Scarnecchia: ‘When I think about Matt all the time it goes all the way back to the very beginning and what he was like when we got him here. I remember that Charlie [Weis] and I went out to Purdue to look at Light and Drew Brees because they were teammates on a really good Purdue team, and it didn’t take a genius to figure out that they were the motors behind that team ‘ especially the offensive side of the ball ‘ and how much they meant to that team. So, we ended up obviously getting Matt and we really wanted Matt on our team.
‘At the very beginning he was everything we thought he would be. Terribly athletic guy and a guy that wanted to do well at every day practice and wanted the team to do well, which is pretty much his MO ‘ he’s a team-first guy in a lot of respects. I do remember his first year as a rookie, like all rookies and especially a guy that has to play the left tackle position ‘ it was a tough year for him in a lot of respects. He couldn’t figure certain things out and he really struggled and we knew this was the direction we wanted to go in and to his credit he got better as it went. Over the last 11 years he’s really been what I think is a very solid football player in our league, and is perceived as a very solid football player in our league. He’s got a tough job, he never once backed away from that job, he sees the premier rushers every week that go along with playing left tackle in the league ‘ he sees those guys, he prepares pretty well for those guys and over his career he’s blocked them all. He will be the first to tell you not as successfully at times as he would like, but no one ever blocks them as successfully as much as they would like to.
‘I think for me the bottom line with Matt is two things: One is he’s walking away from this game really in the prime of his career. He could play longer. He’s chosen to do this because of whatever reasons have motivated him to that I won’t go into, that’s up to him. But he’s walking away after having a great, great season last season and a lot of guys would never do that. They’d look and say ‘I have a lot more time.’ But this guy, he’s looked at it, he’s analyzed it and he’s decided to move on and I think the greatest thing you could ever say to someone that leaves you is that you’ll be missed. He will be missed in a lot of ways, he’ll be missed certainly as a football player, one of our leaders on our football team and a guy that every day came in with his lunch pail, went to work and did all the things that he needed to do to be successful and for our team to be successful.
‘And the other thing is, honestly, and he’ll probably attest to this, our careers together, our time together, probably could easily be described as a love-hate relationship. We went through those times when it was a little rough and there were plenty of times where it was very good, in particular the last three years I think we arrived at a point where he pretty much knew how to take me and I pretty much understood what he was all about. I think this past year, especially this past year was one of those years where we really appreciated each other for whatever it is we brought to the table. As a result of that we had a great year and he had a great year. He will be missed. I’ll definitely miss him ‘ I’ll miss what he brings to the meeting room in terms of his personality and the fun that he likes to have and definitely miss his work ethic out there on the field because he’s going to be one of those guys who is going to be hard to replace. We have guys we think are able but the growing pains will be there with any young players ‘ that’s just the business.
‘I really love this guy and I love what he’s brought to our football team for a long period of time and he definitely will be missed.’
Patriots offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer: ‘We are going to miss Matt a great deal ‘ just from a leadership standpoint and him being in the league for such a long time. I felt like he taught me a lot, even about the little things ‘ how to watch film, how to practice, how to take care of your body and all that stuff. He’s had a great influence on my career so far. I wish him well as he enters a new chapter of his life and I’m sure I’ll see him off the field. I’m sure he won’t be a stranger in the locker room.’