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."

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Patriots release camp dates; open practices begin July 27

Football is coming.

The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.

Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.

The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.

The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.

Tom Brady adds sumo wrestling to offseason training regimen

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Tom Brady adds sumo wrestling to offseason training regimen

Tom Brady's off-the-field workout habits are the subject of serious curiosity for those in New England and beyond. Thanks to Under Armour's Instagram account, followers got a brief glimpse of what Brady does to stay in shape. 

OK. It was more like a glimpse at what he did one day in Tokyo.

@tombrady always fighting for that extra yard. 😂😂 #TBAsiaTour #IWILL

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The video of Brady in the dohyo ring was shot at the Sakaigawa sumo stable in Tokyo on Thursday. According to Kyodo News, leading the training session was ozeki Goeido, who won last year's Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.

"For them to welcome me means very much to me. It's hard to describe in words how special that was," Brady said.

Brady bounced around China before heading to Japan to continue to help promote Under Armour and in particular its "recovery sleepwear" line. He threw a pass on the Great Wall, and he explained that it was his "dream" to play a game on the continent. 

Arigatōgozaimashita 🇯🇵🙏

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Brady vs Brady #therecanonlybeone 🏆

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