Unsurprisingly, the ceremony Robert Kraft and the Pats organization set up for Light was impressive, much more so than most players get. Usually it’s just an opening word or two from Bill Belichick and then the player (often tearfully) says their piece and everyone’s out in time to grab lunch.
Not so for Light. That lovable prankster got the star treatment.
Mr. Kraft started things off at the podium and talked about all Light had meant to the organization since becoming a Patriot back in 2001. He was a rookie starter, just as Richard Seymour, also drafted that year, was. He praised Light for bringing lightness to the team, which he did in droves apparently.
It was Belichick, though, who was the highlight. His full comments are here but watching Belichick speak, it was obvious how much he would miss coaching Light. Anyone who’s watching Light play knows #72 was everything you could ask for in a lineman – gruff, strong, humble, hard-working. For a pure football guy like Belichick, who appreciates those qualities more than anything, getting to be Matt Light’s coach for a decade must have been special.
Offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia and Tom Brady had recorded comments in a video that was played highlighting Light’s career. For a guy who never even thought he play college ball – which he did at Purdue – and definitely never thought he’d get drafted – which he did in the first round – and play professional ball, it was a great time capsule of an amazing career.
But, as Light said, “you know when it’s your time.” And for him, it was time to hang up the cleats. Doing so with dignity and with enough life left in your body to play with your kids – that’s a gift.
I’ll miss Light. While his play has dropped off somewhat in recent years, he was a part of what made the Patriots dynasty so amazing. He, Brady and Kevin Faulk (currently unsigned) were the only Patriots left from that miraculous Super Bowl run back in 2002.
For that, for the other Championships, and for always being reliable and consistent in his play and his attitude, Light will be fondly remembered and beloved in these parts.
Cheers to him and his next step, whatever it is.