And then there was Brady


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

Press conference coming tomorrow.

Rich can be reached at Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

NBA Notes: League seems to be on upward surge in interest and ratings


NBA Notes: League seems to be on upward surge in interest and ratings

For so many years the NFL has had an almost impenetrable veneer in the way it has successfully pivoted away from a myriad of scandals that would have at the very least delivered a significant, noticeable blow to most professional leagues.

But that Teflon-tough image has taken a whacking of late with the league dealing with what has been for the most part an across-the-board ratings dip in its programming.

The NFL’s slide comes at a time when the NBA seems to be on a upward surge in terms of interest and ratings.

Kevin Durant’s decision to leave Oklahoma City and play for Golden State is a needle-mover across the NBA landscape. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers are looking to defend their NBA title – a phrase no one thought they would ever hear even when James signed on for a second tour of duty – will certainly generate tons of interest.

The Boston Celtics added Al Horford to a team that many believe will be among Cleveland’s stiffest challengers, in addition to being a team that has played Golden State as well as anyone the last couple of years.

There are many hands responsible for the NBA having such a strong position on the professional sports landscape, chief among them being former commissioner David Stern.

He was in town last week as part of the Shamrock Foundation’s annual Gala.

Stern gave a rundown of what he’s been up to since passing the commissioner’s torch to Adam Silver.

He said he has been a senior advisor to a venture capital firm, counsels several start-up companies and of course a senior advisor to the NBA.

But it’s what he’s not doing – negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement with the player’s union – that seemed to bring him the most joy.

“That’s when I got the least amount of sleep,” quipped Stern.

But those sleep-deprived marathon sessions with owners and union leaders, have helped bring the league to where it is today – thriving with its players and the profits both seem to be reaping.

That’s why the reports of the NBA and the player’s union being close to coming to terms on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement, make a lot of sense. The NBA or the player’s union can opt-out of the current CBA prior to Dec. 15, although that’s looking less likely to happen because of what should be a new deal that better reflects the economic changes that currently exist in the NBA.

This past summer saw the salary cap in the NBA balloon to $94.14 million after having been $70 million for the 2015-2016 season.

With both NBA players and owners profiting significantly from the new TV deal, most of the changes to come about (paying players on the rookie scale more money; increasing the dollar amounts for veteran’s minimum and team exception contracts) are just common sense rule changes that have both sides closer to getting something done sooner rather than later.

And while he’s not directly involved in any of the current dealings, what he accomplished prior to retiring as commissioner certainly laid the groundwork for what appears to be a relatively smooth negotiation period.

“I didn’t project anything other than I was leaving it in the most spectacular of hands with an All-Star executive cast and they would just do what’s right for the league and they have,” Stern said.

And as far as the current talks that have reportedly been ongoing for months, Stern understands all too well that the last CBA talks which led to a shortened, 66-game season led to changes that has both players and owners feeling better about current negotiations.

“I’m proud to say the league has gotten to a very good place in terms of the player’s share, the owner’s share and where they can all see this is something that pays to keep going,” Stern said. “It’s fun to watch from a distance and not be involved.”



So much for that logjam in the frontcourt for the Philadelphia 76ers. The latest big man to go down with an injury is Nerlens Noel who recently had “minor” surgery on his left knee that will sideline him for reportedly three-to-five weeks. Keep in mind that the Everett, Mass. native missed his entire rookie season following left knee surgery, although the Sixers indicate this was an arthroscopic procedure and is considered minor. He joins No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons who suffered a foot injury that’s expected to keep him out until at least January. That means a lot of the trade rumors involving Noel (and Jahlil Okafor to a certain extent too) should cool off for a little bit.



Signing with Toronto during the offseason was supposed to be Jared Sullinger's chance at a fresh start. Unfortunately for him, things are looking a lot like they did in his early days in Boston. Concerns about his back dropped his draft-day stock from a likely lottery (top-14) pick, to falling in the Celtics' lap at No. 21. During his rookie season, he played well but had to have season-ending back surgery. With the Raptors, it appears he will miss some time early on due to a foot injury that occurred in the team's first preseason game which has kept him out of action ever since.  

“May be a little while before he comes back,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told reporters recently. “He may get checked out just to see what else is going on.”

Sullinger’s weight was an issue during his time with the Celtics. It’s unclear what impact if any, it had on his current injury or whether it’s a factor in the injury keeping him out indefinitely. 



We have seen Metta World Peace (formerly known as Ron Artest) in lots of different basketball roles from hitting big shots to just hitting people.

But as a coach? That is reportedly being discussed by the Los Angeles Lakers brass as they try to trim their training camp roster down to 15 players.

MWP is likely on the outside of the 15-man roster now, but the Lakers still want him to be part of the organization. While it may seem a bit of a stretch at first, he does bring a wealth of basketball experience to the table, a player how has seen the highs and lows of the game in a way few players can fully understand or speak about with a great amount of credibility.



The LaMarcus Aldridge trade talk will be one of the storylines this NBA season. The Boston Celtics will continue to be discussed as a possibility, but the team to watch is the Phoenix Suns. They came close to convincing him when he left Portland for San Antonio. Phoenix provides him a team that can be built around him (which he wants), lots of shots (which he wants) and a team with no pressure on his back to lead them to major success (yup, he wants that too). … Michael Carter Williams’ stock seems to continue to tumble after winning the league’s rookie of the Year award. He’s going into his fourth season and he’s already on to his third team. … Multiple league executives believe Devin Booker is the best 20-and-under player in the NBA right now. He's good, but I'd probably take Minnesota's Karl-Anthony Towns.