New England Patriots fans are keenly aware of the value of protecting the blindside of their legendary quarterback Tom Brady. With the departure of left tackle Nate Solder (who signed with the New York Giants on March 15), fans and media alike have been wondering who might fill those large shoes on the offensive line. However, Solder was not the first to be entrusted with this important responsibility. On Saturday, I had the privilege of sitting down with the man who arguably did it better than any other; former Patriot and three-time Super Bowl Champion Matt Light.
Light spent his entire eleven-year career playing offensive tackle for the Patriots. During his tenure, he was a three-time Super Bowl champion (XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX), three-time Pro Bowler (2006, 2007, 2010) and also earned First-team All-Pro honors in 2007. He is still a legend in Foxboro, where he earned numerous team honors including a spot on the New England Patriots All-2000s Team, as well as the New England Patriots 50th Anniversary Team. His name is often considered (and rightfully so, in this reporter’s opinion) as a possible future-inductee into the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Since retiring from the National Football League in 2011, Light has since garnered his passion for philanthropy. His organization, the Light Foundation, was established in 2002. In its own words, the Light Foundation strives to instill and augment the values of responsibility, accountability and hard work by providing youth with unique outdoor learning experiences that assist them in reaching their highest potential.
In speaking with Matt on Saturday, it is clearly evident that his family, philanthropy, and football are his main passions in life. With all of his numerous accomplishments on and off the field, Light continues to pursue any and all avenues to give back to the community.
Here are some of the highlights of our conversation, which you may listen to in its entirety here: FPC interviews Matt Light.
The Light Foundation
The pride with which Light describes his involvement with the Light Foundation was palpable throughout our conversation. While he is clearly pleased with the work that his foundation does throughout the year, he is truly gratified by the accomplishments of those it is designed to help. Light explained that its goal is to lead young people down a path to becoming responsible members of their communities. In short, the Foundation’s activities and programs help them to become leaders in society, rather than followers. In turn, they become capable of passing on the torch of leadership and achievement to their friends and families.
From events like the Camp Vohokase leadership camp to outings at Chenoweth Trails in Greenville, Ohio, Light is the first to give credit to his amazing staff for the success of these programs. In addition to him and his wife Susie, his mother, father and mother-in-law are all active in the operations of the Foundation. Since its inception in 2001, the Light Foundation has raised more than $5 million for various programs and initiatives throughout the region.
Light Heroes Bruins Alumni Charity Game
For Light, this event is one of his most rewarding of the year. When asked about the event as a whole, he expressed his excitement to be involved with the Boston Bruins Alumni and the Little Heroes Fund once again. He also expressed his pleasure with the threads that he and his team would be wearing this year.
“We have the coolest jerseys on Earth, right? I mean, that is as good as it gets.” Light said with a smile.
He was quick, however, to praise the work of Little Heroes Fund Director Erik Deneault, who along with game organizer Bobby Loffredo and the Boston Bruins Alumni delivered an amazing event from start to finish. He also continued to praise his team of local players amazingly holding their own against such Bruins greats as Rick ‘Nifty’ Middleton, Jay Miller, Reggie Lemelin and Joey Mullen.
However, it is clear that Light is most proud of the assistance which this event provides to those in need. From granting wishes to making dreams come true, this event always succeeds in its goal.
Matt’s Message on the 2018 New England Patriots
Our conversation would not have been complete without at least one Patriots question. In spending eleven seasons in Foxboro, Light is certainly qualified to provide an informed opinion on the state of his former team. When asked if the Patriots might have difficulty rebounding from a disappointing loss in Super Bowl LII, he responded in true Patriot fashion.
“It really won’t be so much about rebounding. There is something pretty unique in the football realm, and really all sports in general, in that each year is drastically different from the previous one,” Light said.
While the outcome of the Super Bowl was certainly not fun for anyone attached to the Patriots, Light expected the team to collectively ‘turn the page.’ He continued by saying that the combination of having many new faces in the locker room, as well as having many veterans choose not to watch any of the post-Super Bowl media coverage, should make it easier to move on.
Light also cautioned fans to be patient with the process. The ‘Patriot Way’ of head coach Bill Belichick and his staff does have a distinct advantage. In Light’s estimation, that approach gets players prepared as well, if not better, than anyone else in the NFL. However, with player practice time having been decreased in recent years, it may take a bit longer than usual for the new guys to become acclimated. In closing, Light’s advice to Patriots fans for the 2018 season was simple:
“Hang in there. The sky will not fall in Week One. Give the new guys some time. As history has proven, the Patriots usually end up being ok. “
On behalf of everyone at Full Press Coverage Sports Media, I sincerely thank Matt Light for taking the time to speak with me on Saturday.
You may read more about the Light Foundation here: https://www.mattlight72.com/
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the New England Patriots. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC