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.

Study ranks Patriots fan base as second-best in NFL

Study ranks Patriots fan base as second-best in NFL

A scholarly blog from Emory ranks the Patriots as having the second-best fan base in the NFL. 

Compiled by professor Mike Lewis and favoring in numerous statistical data, the list ranks the Patriots first in terms of “social equity,” third in “fan equity” and fifth in “road equity.” The Cowboys hold the top overall spot. 

The following graphic is from Lewis' report. 

Lewis allows for the possibility that many of New England’s fans may be bandwagon fans, but that the league’s Deflategate scandal boosted engagement from Patriots dans on social media. 

Click here for the full report.