Koppen on Light: 'He never goes away'

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Koppen on Light: 'He never goes away'

FOXBORO -- Matt Light retired this spring from the NFL, bowing out after 11 years with the Patriots. But as Dan Koppen said following Thursday's OTAs, the guys haven't had much time to miss him.

"I talked to him this morning, yesterday. We're good," Koppen shrugged. Then he smiled.

"He never goes away. He's always around."

Light said in his farewell ceremony he grew to love Foxboro during his career and is wonderfully content to call the community home. So from the sounds of it, Koppen and the rest can still get see their former teammate.

There's just no escaping his absence on the field.

"Matt was just a great player," Koppen reflected. "You knew exactly what you were going to get out of him. He knew where he needed to be. He's very reliable, tough. Just one of those guys that doesn't come around very often. When he does, you just has to appreciate him.

"I'm just thankful that I got to play with him. Got a chance to get to know him, become a friend. He's a special guy and a special player."

And king locker room prankster.

Bill Belichick, one of Light's many victims, probably won't miss having his computer mouse replaced by one that zaps electric shocks.

A decline in the number of dead animals left in lockers will probably be welcome.

So it's not like it's all bad. Koppen said the O-line will just be different.

"I'm trying to think of his wife's remark. It'll be less funny? Maybe something like that," he smiled. "But we play with the guys that we got. We got a good group and everybody's out there working hard, and that's all we can ask for."

That's just the way it works.

"That's the NFL and things change, people change, coaches changes, rules change. I've been in the league a long time and lot of guys in that locker room have been also. We play with the guys out on the field, whether they retire, go to another team, get hurt, doesn't matter, you have to play with the guys you got and build something around that."

Whatever it is the Patriots come up with, at least Light will be around to see it.

Hurley: Why the rush to clear Manning's name?

Hurley: Why the rush to clear Manning's name?

Michael Hurley discusses the NFL's investigation into Peyton Manning's alleged PED use with Toucher and Rich. Hurley wonders why their was such a rush to clear a retired player and continue the probe into still-active players.
 

Solder, Blount, Harmon take part in Patriots on-the-field work

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Solder, Blount, Harmon take part in Patriots on-the-field work

The Patriots had a handful of veterans who missed spring practices back on the field Monday.

The team's website posted video of a training camp "sneak preview," featuring clips from a practice held three days before the official start of camp. In the video were shown offensive tackle Nate Solder, running back LeGarrette Blount and safety Duron Harmon getting in some work after all three were absent from OTA practices open to the media. 

Solder suffered a biceps injury last season that landed him on season-ending injured reserve, which helped throw the Patriots protection in front of Tom Brady into a state of flux for much of the remainder of the season. Should Solder be able to participate in camp practices, as it appears will be the case, the team will have a stabilizing presence on the left side of the line as it prepares for the regular season.

Blount also landed on IR last season after having suffered a hip injury late in the year. He hit the open market as an unrestricted free agent this offseason and eventually signed a one-year deal to remain in New England. If healthy, Blount figures to have the edge in claiming the "big back" role that he's filled for the Patriots at different points over the course of the last three seasons.

Harmon sported a red non-contact jersey during Monday's workout, indicating that he may still need some time before he's ready for any kind of tackling drills this summer. The fourth-year safety explained earlier this month that he was "ready to go" for camp after "just trying to clean up some things physically" during the spring.