For those that have ever seen him or heard him speak, it is no secret that Matt Light‘s personality would make him a natural on television once his NFL career ended. Now just nine weeks after he officially retired from the Patriots, it appears that Light and espn are very close to making that a reality.
In an article from the Dayton Daily News Light says that “I’m working with ESPN right now trying to finalize a contract. I want to see how that goes. Football has been a big part of my life – for the majority of my life – and the TV stuff would help me keep one foot in the door of that world and have some fun with it, too.”
Everybody that follows the team knows that Light is not only very humorous and quick-witted, but also extremely bright and insightful. Combine that with being well spoken and an outgoing personality, and the transition to television should be smooth and successful. In contrast to certain former players that either tortured the English language (Emmitt Smith), were unintelligible (Shannon Sharpe), or too full of themselves (Warren Sapp, Michael Irvin), there is legitimate reason to believe that Light will be well worth listening to in this role, and be very successful in this industry. Don’t forget that Light also was the team’s player representative and was on the NFL Player Association’s Executive Committee during last year’s CBA negotiations; again, that’s more insight that he can draw from when those type of topics arise.
As fans we will probably never be privy to 99% of the pranks that Matt Light was involved in, but at his retirement ceremony Bill Belichick did bring up one anecdote that was suitable for a family audience.
One thing about Matt was, because he was the ultimate prankster, even when it wasn’t him playing the prank, he was involved because everybody thought it was him. He had a great knack for putting dead animals in people’s lockers or in their car. Whatever it was, the finger always pointed to Matt first because that was his personality. He was always the prime suspect even when it wasn’t him.
One of the best ones that he had I was involved in with, it was actually a lot of fun. We were, two years ago, going through the usual grinding part of the season in November, December, and we had a big game with the Jets coming up. There were usually two or three times during the season when I would go to the team after a win, Sunday in the locker room, and say I’m going to give you Monday and Tuesday off, but I want you to watch film, know them inside and out. There are questions on Wednesday, they’re not easy. You really have better done your homework or it will be a long week. Matt comes in on Tuesday and he’s in watching film. He comes into my office and says ‘As a prank between me and you, what do you think about throwing a question out there tomorrow that nobody will know the answer, but I’ll nail it, and that will just send a great message to team about studying and being prepared and really being ready for this game against the Jets.’ I’m like, ‘come on,’ but he talked me into it, so we went with it. I go into the meeting the next day, and said ‘okay, let’s talk about the Jets sub defense. What have we seen them run?’ Brady’s [says], ‘2-4 nickel, 3-3 nickel.’ [I say], ‘have we ween them in dime?’ Hoyer says, ‘yeah we saw them in 3-2 dime, but not that much.’ I say ‘have we seen them in another dime package? No other dime package?’
Light sticks up his hand. ‘Coach, I thought I saw them in that 1-5 dime one time, I think,’ [he says]. ‘Damnit, Light, you did. They’ve been it one time all year. I don’t imagine you remember the game, since you went through the whole entire film,’ [I say]. ‘I want to say it was the Houston game, the opener right before the half,’ [Light said]. ‘Alright Light, you have all the answers, you know everything,’ [I said]. I break the meeting up, the offensive linemen walk out of the room, they’re like ‘Jesus Light, you’re killing us, you’re really putting us to shame here.’ Honest to God, to this day, I don’t think any of those guys ever knew. But that’s the way it was with Matt. He had a great sense when to lighten up and when to tighten up.
As fans we tend to wish players would continue to play forever, but Light appears to have left the game at the right time. In eleven seasons with the Patriots he underwent fourteen different surgical procedures, and battled Crohn’s disease. In his final year he made it back to the Super Bowl and his replacement, Nate Solder, is ready to take over. He really had nothing left to prove and leaves about as intact as one could hope for after that amount of time in the trenches.
On a side note it is good to see that Light does some very good things for the community as well.
Where he was was deep in the woods of Chenoweth Trails, the wondrous, 600-acre outdoor complex he owns some eight miles west of Greenville and a whole lot further from the NFL.
While he may no longer be protecting Tom Brady’s blindside, the massive left tackle with three Super Bowl rings and four Pro Bowl berths is still doing his best to keep trouble from finding others.
As part of his Light Foundation, he runs a unique outdoor leadership skills camp in the summer — part of a bigger year-round program — for at-risk teens from around the country. He calls it Camp Vohokase.
“That’s the Cheyenne word for light,” he said of the term he learned first-hand while doing volunteer work on a Cheyenne reservation early in his career.
This year the 14 kids being illuminated are from Providence, R.I., Nashville, Tenn., West Lafayette, Ind., surrounding Darke County. All represent significant connections to his football career. He grew up in Greenville, won All-Big Ten honors at Purdue, started all 11 years for the Pats, and the Tennessee link is through his former college line coach who is tied into a youth program in Nashville.
For more on Matt Light’s community programs, visit the Matt Light Foundation.
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