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Patriots tackle Tony Garcia medically cleared to play

The Patriots’ 2017 third-round pick announced that he received some great news on Tuesday.

NFL: Combine Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

After what must have been an extremely trying year, Patriots offensive tackle Tony Garcia has been medically cleared to play. According to the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels, Garcia took to his Instagram account on Tuesday to announce the news.

It’s clearly amazing news for the 24-year-old Garcia, whose career appeared to be in jeopardy before it ever even got started.

A dominant left tackle at Troy University, Garcia was selected with the 85th pick in last year’s draft by the Patriots to provide insurance against Nate Solder leaving in free agency. With Solder signing his record-setting contract in New York last week, and tackles LaAdrian Waddle and Cameron Fleming currently testing the open market, the left tackle position has easily become the most glaring need in Foxborough this offseason.

With Garcia’s long-term health apparently no longer in question, his medical clearance now prompts a handful of additional questions. What is his timeline for a return? How much physical activity has he been able to undergo throughout the process? Has he lost strength?

Of course, it’s highly unlikely we will learn these details from the organization moving forward — meaning our assessment of the team’s feelings on Garcia’s future will simply be conjecture until after the draft.

More details to come as they are made available.

Follow Brian Phillips on Twitter @BPhillips_SB