FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Matt Light #72 of the New England Patriots reacts against the San Diego Chargers in the first half at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Over the last couple of months, rumors have run rampant that long-time Patriots left tackle Matt Light is considering retirement. Recently, at a charity event, Light declined to comment on the situation. Now, Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com is reporting that, according to a league source, Light plans to retire:
A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that Light will indeed retire.
It's unknown when the move will be official. Presumably, the Patriots would like to keep it under wraps until after the draft, so that a replacement on the depth chart can be selected. Nate Solder, a first-round pick in 2011, is expected to replace Light in the starting lineup.
I'm surprised that Light is actually planning on retiring. The rumors have been out there for a while, but at the age of 33 and coming off back-to-back excellent seasons at left tackle, I really thought Light had at least a year left in him.
If this turns out to be true, this will mark the end of a spectacular Patriots career for Light. Drafted with the 48th pick in the 2001 NFL Draft out of Purdue, Light has held down the Patriots left tackle spot for more than the decade, while being a member of three Super Bowl winning teams, and five Conference Champion squads.
For the Patriots, Nate Solder will likely step into the left-tackle spot. On the right side, Sebastian Vollmer will continue to start, with 2011 fifth round draft choice Marcus Cannon acting as insurance there. The Patriots also recently signed Robert Gallery, although I'd expect him to play more guard/right tackle than anything on the left side.