And then there was Brady

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And then there was Brady

This morning, Matt Light finally delivered the message that we've been expecting all spring

He's retiring.

As they say, he's walking away from the game while he still can, and leaves behind an undeniable legacy. He was Tom Brady's Blind Side. A cornerstone of the Patriots dynasty.

And while it's obviously a little sad to see Light hang them up, you can't help but be happy for the guy. Some players struggle with this kind of decision, but Light is very clearly at peace. He's really looking forward to his life after football.

If you didn't read his farewell message in this week's Monday Morning Quarterback, I highly recommend doing it now. (It's about halfway down the page).

Here's a quick excerpt:

"I didn't grow up wanting to play football. Never thought a college would pay for me to join their team. The draft was just a reason to throw a party and I'd never seen a pro football game in person until I played in one. Yet, this unbelievable journey has provided my family and I with more than we could ever ask for and the ability to help those around us. That is the biggest victory of my career and why I will forever be grateful to the Patriots organization and the NFL."
First of all, I think I know why it took so long for Light to announce his retirement he was writing this letter. (Or maybe I'm just saying that to compensate for insecurities about a professional football player being a gooder writer than I am). Second, just an unbelievably message from Light. Honest. Genuine. I feel like I understand him better at this moment, than I do any athlete in this city. Light completely reveals himself here (in a non-trench coat kind of way), and somehow comes across even more likable than he already was.

However, there's one slightly weird and unfortunate consequence to Light's retirement.

Tom Brady's now the only player left from Super Bowl XXXVI.

I know, I know. Kevin Faulk's still around. But he has as good a chance to make the team as you do. It's only a matter of time until he holds a press conference of his own.

Which leaves Brady as the lone wolf from that original ring, and as one of only four players to win any kind of ring in New England. (Other 3: Dan Koppen, Vince Wilfork and Deion Branch, who's no guarantee to make the team either).

In a way, it makes sense that there are so few champions left at Gillette. It's been seven years since the Pats won it all, and the length of the average NFL career is about 15 minutes. And at the same time, it's only fitting that Brady and Belichick are the only two dominant figures that remain from the night the Pats shocked the world in New Orleans.

Still, it's just crazy to think back on all that's happened and ultimately changed in the 10 years since. It makes me feel very old.

Not as old as Matt Light feels after 11 years of playing left tackle in the NFL, but here's to getting out before it's too late.

On that note, I'd like to announce my retirement from CSNNE.com.

Press conference coming tomorrow.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

Isaiah Thomas continues to claim Celtics' franchise records

BOSTON – This continues to be a historic season for Isaiah Thomas as more records fell in Wednesday’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee, and the company he’s keeping becomes even more exclusive. 

Thomas had a game-high 32 points on Wednesday which included five made 3’s on nine attempts. That gave him 223 for the season which is a new franchise single-season record for made 3-pointers. The previous record was 222 set by Antoine Walker during the 2001-2002 season.

And his 32 points scored gives him 2,012 this season. 

Only six players in franchise history (Paul Pierce was the last to do it during the 2005-2006 season) have scored 2,000 or more points in a single season. 

Oh, there’s more. 

With Wednesday being the 66th time this season he has had 20 or more points, Thomas has now tied Pierce (2005-2006) and Larry Bird (1985-1986; 1987-1988) for sixth on the Celtics’ single-season franchise list. 

“I didn’t even know that,” a visibly disappointed Thomas said following Wednesday’s loss. “It doesn’t feel that good right now. But when I look back on it, probably in the offseason, I’ll appreciate it a little more. But I’m just staying in the moment and try and play as best I can to lead this team to as many wins as possible.”

Other season milestones Thomas is in the mix for include the following:

  • The 5-foot-9 guard is one of three players this season to have 50 or more games of 25-plus points, joined by Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (57) and Houston’s James Harden (54).
  • Thomas has made at least one 3-pointer in a franchise-record 50 straight games (Dec. 3 – March 29). That’s also the longest current streak in the NBA. 
  • With 66 games of 20 or more points this season, Thomas is second in the NBA to Westbrook (67).

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

Marcus Smart at center of yet another controversial call

BOSTON – One of the more bizarre plays in Boston’s 103-100 loss to Milwaukee came in the second quarter, requiring some explanation from the officials afterwards. 

With 3:55 to play in the second quarter, the officials had originally called a foul on Marcus Smart which he verbally protested that eventually led to him being whistled for a technical foul. 

After the officials reviewed the play, they changed the call to a personal foul against Khris Middleton but no change to the called technical foul against Smart who objected to a call that, upon review, they agreed was the wrong call to make. 

Official Sean Corbin, through pool reporter Ken Powtak of the Associated Press, acknowledged that the original call was a loose ball foul against Smart. 

“The (officiating) crew got together, we met prior to video and we decided that we needed to look at video because both players were on the floor bleeding so we went to the video for a hostile act,” Corbin told Powtak. “In the review we noticed that Khris Middleton initially made contact to Marcus Smart’s face. That’s how the original contact to the play occurred.”

Fortunately for the Celtics, Middleton missed his technical free throw while Smart split a pair of free throws which cut Milwaukee’s lead to 49-40.

Still, that’s no consolation for Smart who was whistled for a technical foul on a play that the official acknowledged was the wrong call to make. 

In the fourth quarter, Smart was at the center of yet another controversial call that was also reviewed by the officials. The verdict wasn't nearly as good for Smart who was whistled for a flagrant foul after getting his feet tangled up with Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo who was called for a non-shooting foul in the play with 4:46 to play. 

Antetokounmpo made one of two free throws and on the Bucks' ensuing possession, he was called for traveling.

Smart was unavailable to talk after the game in part because the aforementioned incident left an abrasion to his mouth and, because of the technical foul, a little lighter in the wallet as well.