Light had indicated for months that he was mulling retirement, but as late as last week had yet to address his plans publicly. Although anything can change in the future – supposedly retired guys like Randy Moss return all the time – Light has apparently decided to call it quits after 11 impressive seasons as the only primary left tackle that Tom Brady has ever known.
By placing Light on the reserve/retired list New England is able to remove his salary – reportedly $3.4 million heading into 2012 – from the team's salary cap computations. That opens up more money for the team to sign free agents and undrafted players heading into the post-draft process.
Light went to four Pro Bowls in his 11 seasons (2006, 07, 10, 11), the latest coming in what was arguably the best season of his career this past fall. Light also won three Super Bowl titles in New England and was named a first-team All-Pro in 2007.
It's likely that when Light – who was under contract for one more season under the deal he signed with the team last summer – returns to town there will be some sort of formal announcement and press availability as we've seen in the past with the likes of Tedy Bruschi and Troy Brown.
With Light now officially out of the offensive line mix, Nate Solder will be penciled in as the starter at left tackle heading into 2012.
The Boston Globe's Greg Bedard also tweeted on Wednesday that Patriots Pro Bowl right guard Brian Waters – who has also been mulling retirement since the Super Bowl – will indeed return to New England for a second season in 2012. That will add stability to front, that will likely see Dan Koppen return to a starting role at center. Left guard will depend on Logan Mankins' health as he rehabs from ACL surgery. If he's ready, it's his job. If not, Dan Connolly would seem the likely replacement. That would leave second-year player Marcus Cannon, oft- injured former starter Sebastian Vollmer and recently-signed veteran Robert Gallery to battle for the right tackle job. Gallery could also be an option at guard, a position the former No. 2 overall pick played for most of the year.
- Light out of the equation, how comfortable are you with the Patriots offensive line heading into 2012? Is Light the best left tackle in Patriots history? Let us know with a comment below!*