Koppen on Light: 'He never goes away'


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.

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

Trump wishes Kraft good luck, says Brady called to congratulate him

President-elect Donald Trump made sure to thank a few of his supporters from New England -- particularly those at 1 Patriot Place -- during a speech on the eve of his inauguration to the nation's highest office. 

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady all earned shout-outs from Trump. Kraft was one of many Trump donors present for a dinner at Washington, DC's Union Station, where he was singled out by the soon-to-be-president. 

"In the audience we have somebody that's under no pressure whatsoever because he's got a great quarterback named Tom Brady and a great coach named Belichick: Bob Kraft," Trump said. "Good luck, Bob.

"Your friend Tom Brady just called. He feels good. He called to congratulate us. He feels good. Good luck. You're going to do great."

Trump gave one extra nod to Belichick, who he says taught him to out-work his competition. 

"I out-worked everybody," Trump said. "I think I out-worked anyone who ever ran for office. I learned that from Belichick."

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

Patriots sign TE Rob Housler to future contract

FOXBORO -- The Patriots have signed free-agent tight end Rob Housler to a future contract. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound target last played for the Bears but was released at the end of training camp.

Housler won't be eligible to participate with the Patriots during the postseason, but he will be available for the offseason program and training camp leading up to the 2017 campaign. 

Housler taken in the third round by the Cardinals with the 69th overall selection in 2011. In 65 career games, he has 109 catches for 1,166 yards and one touchdown. 

The Patriots may have been intrigued by Housler's skill set last summer when he caught one pass for 52 yards -- making two Patriots defenders miss in the process -- during a preseason game at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots and Bears held joint training camp practices in August that would have given Patriots coaches and scouts a closer look at everything Housler has to offer as a player. 

Housler was one of the better athletes at the NFL Scouting Combine in 2011, running a 4.55-second 40-yard dash (fastest among tight ends), posting a 6.9-second three-cone drill, and recording a 37-inch vertical leap.

Bill Belichick and his staff hit big on a future-contract signing two years ago when a running back with a significant injury history was available to scoop up at the behest of then-assistant to the coaching staff Michael Lombardi. Since then, the Patriots still have never lost with Dion Lewis in uniform.