Get used to it, people. This is 2020. The stream of unexpected events continued as it pertains to the NFL and the New England Patriots. The team’s seventh-round pick, Dustin Woodard has retired during training camp, according to reports.
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Dustin Woodard Decided to Retire
In a move that NFL reporter Tom Pelissero said has nothing to do with COVID-19, the 22-year-old from Arizona who came out of Memphis this year and was supposed to back up David Andrews at center “simply decided to walk away,” Pelissero wrote on Twitter. Several Patriots insiders had reactions to this somewhat unexpected decision.
Andrews was expected to start at center, but because he missed all of 2019 with blood clots, the Patriots knew they needed to add depth in the event the veteran was sidelined again. In 2019, Ted Karras stepped in admirably for Andrews, but he left in free agency for the Miami Dolphins leaving a pretty big void to fill. The Patriots had hoped Woodard was capable of filling that void, but it’s clear that won’t be the case.
Considering starting right tackle Marcus Cannon is one of eight players to opt-out of the season, the Patriots’ offensive line looks further weakened.
Tyler Gauthier’s Signing Makes a Lot More Sense Now
Earlier in the week, the Patriots re-signed Tyler Gauthier. The team had signed him as an undrafted rookie in 2019 but didn’t retain him at the beginning of last season. Initially, it seemed as though he might be competing with Woodard for the backup spot, but now Gauthier stands a great chance of making the roster and could be one play away from becoming the team’s starting center.
With Woodard’s retirement and the release of undrafted free agent Nick Coe, the Patriots now have four open spots on their roster. We’ll wait to see who the team brings to camp to take these positions, and has an opportunity to compete for a spot on the 53-man roster, or the practice squad.
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