Some people play football because they have such a passion for the game that they can’t imagine doing anything else, and they struggle in retirement because they can’t fill the void the absence of playing left in their lives. Others play football because they were big, strong kids who were encouraged to play at a young age and later realized they were good enough to get a scholarship and make a lot of money playing professionally, and when they decide to quit they can leave without missing it.
Matt Light is in the latter group.
Light, who announced his retirement from the Patriots this month, told Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio today that although he has always enjoyed football, being a football player never defined who he was as a kid (one year he didn’t play youth football because it would have conflicted with his paper route), and it certainly doesn’t define him as an adult, either. That’s why, Light said, he’s going to be perfectly content in retirement.
“I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I was like, be happy, don’t try to bite off more than you can chew, and look forward to the next great challenge,” Light said.
As an example of what kind of extremely casual football fan Light was, he mentioned that he never watched a single Super Bowl in his life until the Patriots played in the Super Bowl at the end of his rookie year.
“The first one I saw was one I was in,” Light said.
Light said that playing his NFL career with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and playing his college career with Drew Brees at Purdue, he got to see up close a couple of fellow players who have a passion for the game and insatiable hunger to compete, to the point that they won’t quit playing until they simply can’t play anymore. Light could keep playing, but he’s now choosing to quit.