Mankins on Light: 'He will definitely be missed'

Mankins on Light: 'He will definitely be missed'
May 7, 2012, 7:31 pm
Share This Post

Logan Mankins looked in a daze Monday morning.
Robert Kraft and Bill Belichick had just helped Matt Light shelve an impressive, productive career while Mankins and the rest of New England's offensive line looked on. They, in their Patriots sweatshirts and shorts, stood shuffling on the periphery during each speech. One of them was graduating -- growing up, it seemed.
The rest were asked to react just minutes after.
Ive known for a while, but I dont want to get into all the dates and everything," Mankins said of Light's decision to retire. "Most of us knew it was coming.
As long ago as the Super Bowl? Yes, Mankins said. The finality of the 2011 season was even more conclusive for Light.
We had had some nights after games here celebrating that we had heart-to-heart talks about stuff like that. I think he was sharing it, bouncing it off of people. He knows that we always told him that whatever he felt was right, and we supported him.
When Light addressed the crowd, he gave no sign that discussing football in the past tense was an issue. But he gave pause when acknowledging his former teammates and the impact they had on him. There was a similar respectful hesitation on the other side.
"What he did for 11 years is pretty special, I think," said Mankins. "Anyone would love to have the career he had: Play 11 years; five Super Bowls -- won three; Pro Bowls. He did about everything you can do and it's pretty special to see him leaving on his own terms when he wants to."
"The career he had hopefully I can get to five Super Bowls, but I don't know. He's had the model career that a lot of guys would love to have."
When Mankins answered questions you could see the wheels turning behind his eyes. Still working through it, still processing change. And part of that is dealing with how Light's absence affects the team, the line, the men.
Even a different body type in a replacement could change the way they play, couldn't it? Mankins has no idea -- Light has been beside him for all seven of his career's years.
"Not for me," he said of a style change. He then reconsidered. "I don't know. We'll find out. It'll be a little different. It'll be the first left tackle, except for a game here and a game there, I've had to play next to."
Hence his thoughtful presence. Though Mankins weighs his words no matter what the circumstance,watching Light leave football clearly affected him.
So it goes.
"He'll definitely be missed. But that happens in the NFL; guys retire and you have to move on."