Kraft: Light was a model Patriot

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Kraft: Light was a model Patriot

FOXBORO -- Matt Light retired from the New England Patriots and the NFL Monday morning. The offensive tackle, a Patriot for all 11 of his career's seasons, ended his playing days before a crowd of family, friends, and reporters.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft was first to speak. He began by addressing, then dismissing, the doubt football fans and analysts had in the team's second round pick in 2001's draft.

"On the field, Light was a tenacious competitor who had one of the toughest jobs. Every week he's be going up against the greatest athlete on the defensive lineman who was coming after our quarterback's blindside. Off the field, he was the guy who kept it L-I-G-H-T for everyone else. He brought humor and hijinks to the locker room and meeting rooms since the days we drafted him.

"But I personally admire most about Matt is that he contributed to the team both amazing on the field and in the locker room. His impact on our community, we still feel the legacy, both here in New England and back in Ohio he's been making a very positive impact on the lives of children, and is the model of what we consider to be a true Patriot."

Head coach Bill Belichick next stepped to the podium. In a rare moment, he abandoned his usual gruffness for nostalgia.

"It's with a lot of mixed emotions I get up here today to talk about Matt Light," Belichick smiled. "We kind of got off to a rocky start that rookie year, with my brilliance and foresight, I decided Matt, really even though he played left tackle at Purdue extremely well, that he would be better suited to play right tackle for us. We put him over there at right tackle."

It's no secret the move failed miserably. As the story goes, Belichick and Scarnecchia decided at the end of training camp to move Light back to the other side of the line.

"Let's just put him over there and see how it goes," Belichick recalled saying. "Went pretty good." He laughed, as if nodding to Light's multiple Pro Bowl seasons.

"That was probably one of the best undoing of a bad decision that I've done. He's been a tremendous player for us, been a tremendous resource for us. And he's put a levity that we probably need around here. Congratulations on a tremendous career. You and your family have meant a lot of this team."

Belichick concluded with his favorite gesture of sincere gratitude -- the one that can only be earned. "And thanks for putting up with me."

Light rose and locked his former coach in a bear hug. Then he began his goodbye.

"There are few things that have brought me more joy over my carer than to be a part of the rebuilding of the Patriots organization. Being as incredible as it was, especially as a rookie that couldn't make it to meetings on time. Pretty much I didn't do anything right, as Dante Scarnecchia said, I didn't know if the ball w0as pumped or stuffed. I've come a long way, an incredible distance. But to be a part of it, I'm truly honored and blessed.

"To Coach Belichick for all the demanding, just hard-headedness and genius that you bring to each and every day, and even though we've had some differences in the way we look at things. All the fun, I can't begin to tell you how great this has been and for taking that chance on me, and for sticking with me on some of the rough times, the sickness, injuries, many issues, I appreciate it. It meant a lot for me and my family to have this experience."

Most of Light's former teammates on the offensive line stood in sweats on the crowd's perimeter. They were given warm acknowledgment.

"One of the things that gets lost for how we do things on and off the field -- there's more of a team and family concept than you will truly realize, or what young guys understand. The togetherness, it's the concept that really put us on the map. The reason why they'll always have continued success with this leadership, and the type of people they bring through this door, the coaching staff, it's an honor and privilege to be around.

"To all teammates whom I've upset and aggravated and laughed alongside with, and definitely fought in the trenches with, you guys made it all worthwhile. I'm not sure if I've had a real conversations outside of joking with any of you, in a while, but from the bottom of my heart, I played the game to be alongside guys like you. You have held me accountable to things I've done or said, pushed me each and every step, believed in me.

"To be honest, for a guy who doesn't have a lot of self-confidence" Here, Light broke off. He came back braced by humor. "It looks like I do, because I'm so dapper. Ultimately, my confidence came through your strength; it's meant a lot to me."

Through it all, Light never broke down. He shed no tears before he turned and walked away from football and those who endeared the game to his life.

"The excellence we all shared as an organization, teammates, friends, everyone else. It's not just as an act, it's a habit, it's how we live our lives. what we try to do day-in and day-out. I hope this habit continues. Thank you."

Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

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Affleck offers passionate Brady defense when asked about Deflategate

When the topic of Deflategate was broached on HBO's Any Given Wednesday with Bill Simmons, which debuted this week, Ben Affleck became all kinds of fired up.

"What they did was suspend Tom Brady for four days for not giving them his [expletive] cellphone," Affleck said. "I would never give an organization as leak-prone as the NFL my [expletive] cellphone . . . so you can just look through my emails and listen to my voicemails?"

Affleck grew up in Cambridge, Mass. and is a passionate Patriots fan. He made no attempts to hide his fandom, and his appreciation for Brady, as he and Simmons (also a Patriots fan) discussed the football-deflation controversy that has now lasted well over a year. 

Affleck, who said he would want to cast himself as Brady if ever a Deflategate movie was made, harped on the fact that the league wanted Brady to turn over his phone. 

"Maybe Tom Brady is so [expletive] classy and such a [expletive] gentleman," Affleck said, "that he doesn’t want people to know that he may have reflected on his real opinion on some of his co-workers."

Brady is waiting for the Second Circuit to make a decision as to whether or not it will rehear his case against the NFL. Earlier this offseason, the Second Circuit reinstated Brady's four-game suspension issued by the league when a three-judge panel ruled in favor of the NFL, 2-1. 

Pro Football Talk wrote on Thursday that a decision from the Second Circuit could come at any time. If the rehearding request is denied, Brady could then take the case to the Supreme Court. Should the Second Circuit grant Brady a rehearing, his suspension would be delaed until the court reached a decision. In that case, Brady could potentially play the entire 2016 season before a decision came to pass. 

Brady posts high school essay to Facebook on living in his sisters' shadow

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Brady posts high school essay to Facebook on living in his sisters' shadow

Tom Brady wasn't always the most famous person in his family. Growing up, his sisters were the accomplished athletes in the household. 

For his latest Throwback Thursday style Facebook post, Brady published a pair of photos of an old high school essay that he wrote in the fall of his senior year in 1994. It was titled "The way my sisters influenced me."

I found an essay I wrote in 1994... I love my big sisters! #tbt. Thanks for the good grade Mr Stark!

Posted by Tom Brady on Thursday, June 23, 2016

In it, he discusses some of the difficulties of growing up with three older sisters and no brothers. Because Maureen, Julie and Nancy Brady had achieved so much in softball, basketball and soccer, Brady -- or "Tommy," as he signed his paper -- had trouble getting noticed. 

Of course, it wouldn't be long before Brady was headed from San Mateo, California to Ann Arbor, Michigan in order to play football for the Wolverines. He probably had no trouble garnering attention by then. Still, it's funny to read about how he felt overlooked in his youth. 

He closed the essay explaining that he knew his sisters would always provide him support throughout his life, adding, "hopefully, just maybe, one day people will walk up to them and say, 'Aren't you Tommy's sister?' or 'Hey where is your brother?' Maybe . . . "

If the Brady sisters didn't get those kinds of comments by the time the baby of the family was given an 'A' for his English assignment, it probably didn't take long before they did. About seven years later, he took over as the starting quarterback of the Patriots.