Dustin Woodard back on Patriots’ roster after retiring prior to his rookie year

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 16 Memphis at Houston
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The Patriots selected Memphis center Dustin Woodard in the seventh round of the 2020 NFL draft. Four months later, Woodard retired. Now he’s coming back.

Woodard has been reinstated to the Patriots’ active roster, according to Field Yates of ESPN.

It’s unclear why Woodard changed his mind. He hasn’t spoken publicly about his decision. He had the option last year to opt out of the season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he chose simply to retire and reportedly told people his decision had nothing to do with the pandemic.

Woodard started 52 games at Memphis, first at guard and then at center. He’ll have an uphill battle just to make the Patriots’ roster, but it’s a challenge he is now planning to accept.