New England Patriots’ Dan Connolly Likely to Retire, Per Mike Reiss


According to ESPNBoston’s Mike Reiss, veteran guard Dan Connolly is leaning toward retirement.

"Here is my understanding of what is happening with free-agent veteran guard Dan Connolly: The Buccaneers made a strong pitch to him, enticing him about the possibility of again playing alongside Logan Mankins, but Connolly’s reluctance to uproot/be away from his family was the primary factor that led him to decline that option. Meanwhile, Connolly could have been enticed to play a 10th NFL season with the Patriots, although my sense is that the club hasn’t aggressively pursued that option at this time."

Reiss also points out that Connolly didn’t exactly look ready to play a 10th season as an NFL lineman when he got his Super Bowl XLIX ring:

"To the casual eye, he also looked like he dropped some significant weight when spotted on video at the team’s Super Bowl ring ceremony, where he was sitting next to Brady."

If there’s one guy you can trust in the mainstream sports media, it’s Reiss (admittedly, this writer is biased toward Reiss because he’s an alum of the UMass Amherst sport management program). So what do we make of this?

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Well, there’s a reason the Patriots weren’t too hot on bringing back the nine-year veteran. When it comes to players who are skating out of their primes, the Patriots take a hard tack. They aren’t afraid to cut loose a player that’s about to be on the downhill (i.e. Wes Welker, Logan Mankins) for a younger guy.

In the case of Connolly, that player is Tre’ Jackson. One of the Patriots’ three fourth-round selections in this spring’s draft, Jackson is projected to start at left guard in Week 1 in place of Connolly. A rookie like Jackson offers a much higher ceiling than a veteran who’s on the wrong side of 30.

We must nod to Connolly for his seven years of service in New England. He climbed through the ranks from a practice squadder in 2007 to a full-time starting role in 2010 and captainship this past season.

Patriots fans will always think back fondly on Connolly’s 71-yard kickoff return against the Green Bay Packers in the 2010 season.

In closing, Connolly will always be able to get a free beer in Boston.