Last year, the New England Patriots made only four draft picks – the fewest in the league and in franchise history. Of the four players selected, only one was with the Patriots on opening day (Deatrich Wise Jr.), the other three were either released (Conor McDermott) or recovering from injuries (Derek Rivers, Tony Garcia). And while there was clarity on one of the injuries, Rivers’ ACL tear, the other was a mystery – until now.
According to the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe, Garcia missed all of 2017 because of blood clots in his lungs:
Tony Garcia’s rookie season ended in training camp due to blood clots in his lungs, according to a source. He is expected to make a fully recovery. Spent last season on NFI.
After the Patriots selected Garcia in the third round of last year’s draft, the team had to place him on the non-football injury list on September 2 after a summer during which he saw only limited practice time because of undisclosed medical issues. The Troy product was never activated off the list and as a result ended his season on the sidelines; unsurprisingly given the condition Howe revealed earlier today.
Howe further noted that Garcia was placed on blood thinners and as a result lost more than 40 pounds because of the medication. However, he was able to start working out again a few months ago and, even though there is no timetable set and the team is playing it safe, is expected to fully recover and return to the field at some point further down the line.
If the 24-year old does make a full return this year, he should be considered a virtual lock to be on the team next season. Considering that three of New England’s top four tackles from last year are scheduled to enter free agency in two weeks – Nate Solder, Cameron Fleming, LaAdrian Waddle –, Garcia could potentially even play a big role on the offensive line.