Last offseason, the Patriots double-dipped in the offensive line with the selection of 4th round guards Tre Jackson and Shaq Mason. Offensive line captain Dan Connolly was getting up in age and just won the Super Bowl; his future was in jeopardy.
While Connolly was debating retirement, the Patriots handed his old jersey number 63 to the rookie Jackson, signaling that the team had likely moved on from the veteran. Connolly later announced his retirement.
WEEI's Chris Price has pointed out that the Patriots have given the number 62 jersey to 3rd round rookie Joe Thuney- the same number worn by 2015 offensive line captain Ryan Wendell since he joined the team in 2008.
Wendell battled a serious illness that left him hospitalized last season and it's not uncommon for a player to end his playing career after such an incident. It's unknown if Wendell wants to continue an NFL career and he is currently listed as a free agent.
The Patriot used Wendell all across the offensive line interior where he was a great run blocker; I personally attribute the recovery and stabilization of the 2014 Super Bowl offensive line to the insertion of Wendell at right guard. He's had a great career that he should be proud of.
We wish Wendell success wherever his career ends up- but with the assignment of number 62 to Thuney, it's possible that Wendell will have to find a roster spot with another franchise.