NFL: New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers

Veteran Patriots Lineman Dan Connolly Retires

NFL: New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers

One of the NFL’s most reliable and effective offensive linemen of the last decade has retired, as former New England Patriot Dan Connolly announced he would be bowing out of the NFL aged 32. Connolly spent ten seasons in the league; his final game a Super Bowl victory as captain for the Patriots against the Seattle Seahawks in February.

Connolly claims he receives offered of interest from a number of other franchises, but decided to call it quits over family and safety concerns. He told ESPN that he couldn’t bear to move his family – which includes three daughters under six years old – to a new city as he prepared to play for another team.

More importantly, Connolly cited health as the “biggest factor”, addressing the five total concussions he has suffered over his amateur and pro career. “It’s important for me to leave the game healthy,” he mused. “I’m able to be here for my kids and walk away on my own terms. I feel like I got everything I could out of football in playing ten years, winning a Super Bowl, and playing alongside some truly great players.”

The versatile offensive lineman spent the better part of a decade protecting the face of the franchise in Tom Brady after first signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars out of college. Brady rewarded him with two trips to the world championship game, ultimately ending Connolly’s career with the fondest of team memories.

As for Connolly’s personal moment of triumph? That of course came in 2010, when the 305-pounder fielded a squib kick off a Green Bay restart and lumbered the rock 71 yards in one of the slowest but most exciting special team plays in NFL history.

The Patriots may not miss his return skills, but his absence will surely create a void in leadership as the team riles up for its title defense in 2015.

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