Patriots captain Dan Connolly will finally get some rest

Mike Reiss, ESPN:
Longtime New England Patriots offensive lineman Dan Connolly is going out on top. He has decided to retire.

A captain on the Patriots' Super Bowl championship team in 2014, Connolly relayed the retirement in an interview with

When asked if winning the Super Bowl was a catalyst to retire, Connolly said: "It definitely played a part in it; helped me sleep better. I'm more at ease with the decision."

After spending 11 years in the trenches in the NFL, New England Patriots starting offensive guard Dan Connolly is hanging up the cleats. As an undrafted OG from Southeast Missouri State, Dan made the 2005 Jacksonville Jaguars' 53-man roster and played parts of two seasons under head coach, Jack Del Rio. The Patriots signed Connolly to their practice squad following his release from the Jaguars in 2007.

Dan Connolly was the starting left guard in the Patriots' Super Bowl XLIX win, 28-24 over the Seattle Seahawks. Dan was also one of six New England captains, having assumed that role following the trade of OG Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in preseason.

The decision to retire from the NFL for Dan Connolly may have been made following the exciting Patriots
win over the Seahawks. The game featured two vicious hits that could have caused two known concussions. Patriots WR Julian Edelman absorbed a helmet-to-helmet hit from Seattle safety Kam Chancellor. Edelman was cleared by doctors, and was able to return to the field. Seattle Seahawks LB Cliff Avril was not so fortunate. Avril was hurt during a Bobby Wagner interception return in the third quarter.

Sporting News:
"I’m glad the docs decided to not put me back in,” Cliff Avril told the Macon Telegraph recently. “Concussions aren’t anything to play with.”

In a December 19, 2010 game against the Green Bay Packers, Connolly set the record for the longest kickoff return by an offensive lineman in NFL history, returning a squib kick 71 yards to set up a Patriots touchdown (the previous record was 48 yards by Mal Snider in 1969). Connolly was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for the feat. However, Connolly suffered a concussion in the game and missed the final two games of the regular season.

I think it is a smart move for the 32 year old OG/KR Dan Connolly to go out on top. Not only was Dan the starter in 11 playoff games, he leaves the game with a 71 yard kickoff return average. Not bad for an undrafted lineman from the Ohio Valley Conference with 5.19 40 yard dash speed.

Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire. .

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