5 with Light
Five questions with Patriots left tackle Matt Light, who touched on his surprise appearance in the Pro Bowl, the 2006 season, and the future:
What was your experience in the Pro Bowl like, and how did that unfold for you?
“That was interesting. I wasn’t aware of the fact I was a possible fill-in. I was hunting. It was the end of deer season and I was in a tree stand, and I got a phone call. I thought it was just something to do with the schedule coming up, or something, so I didn’t take the call. I listened to the message and thought it was kind of a joke. I called back and still kind of laughed. Then [executive director of media relations] Stacey James called and said ‘hey, you may want to go out there.’ I laughed at him at first, too. I quickly realized it was the real deal. It was a great experience. I never really followed football a lot growing up, so for me to get a chance to go out and be around those guys that I’ve gotten to know and played against, it was a great experience. All those guys, I kind of had reservations. I thought maybe it would be a lot of big heads and egos and all that kind of stuff. I was surprised to find out all those guys are just great guys, down to earth. We had a lot of fun out there.”
What else about the experience stood out?
“You never want your coaching staff to be coaching that game, but at the same time, it was nice to be around them in a more relaxed atmosphere. They had their families out there and it was neat seeing them kind of outside the craziness that is the NFL season. That part to me was great. I wish I would have had a lot more of my [teammates] out there, and that they could have experienced that and enjoyed that, too. We had a great time, my wife and my mom and dad got to go. It was nice.”
When you look back on the 2006 season, how do you sum it all up?
“I think we worked as hard as we’ve ever worked. We’ve obviously enjoyed a lot of success around here, and we’ve also fallen short a little bit. But I think of all the teams over the last six years that I’ve been a part of, man, we worked hard this past year. Everybody put in the extra hours. Guys were staying later than they ever stayed before, whether that meant getting treatment, or watching film, hitting the weight room, whatever it was, we had a lot of guys that were dedicated to what we wanted to get done. We had guys that had to step up and come in, three quarters of the way through the season coming in and really contributing and doing a lot of things to really help us win these games.”
And the playoffs…
“I was really proud of the fact when we got into the playoffs that we didn’t have any distractions with the New York game. There were a lot of things to be distracted with that, but I thought everyone was focused and we went out and played a really good game. I thought going to San Diego, that’s a game I’ll never forget. It was highly anticipated, and we went out there and played one of our best games of the season. I was really proud to be a part of that. I guess, to end it all, with the Indy game, I think everybody in that locker room after the game was extremely disappointed in the outcome of that game. But at the end of the day, that was a heck of a game. That was a great effort on both sides. Usually when I lose a game, I never really look at it that way. You know, that was one of those games when you almost can’t say anything bad about it. Everybody went out there and to think of what we had to battle through -- all the little things that had happened the whole season and everything coming to a head in that game, that’s not a bad way to go out. Had we won that, we might be celebrating another [Super Bowl] championship here in New England. We had a great season. When you get all the way to the AFC Championship Game, you have a shot to fulfill the ultimate goal in every pro player’s career, for every season. The only thing you want to do is go through and win the Super Bowl. We came pretty close.”
What happens next as you prepare for 2007, and how do you feel about having all the linemen back next season?
“I expect us all to be back in mid-March. At that point, we’ll all have been away from each other for a couple of months, and that’s always a good thing. You can only stare at those guys -- especially the guys to my right -- for so long [laughs]. It’s a great time. The offseason, we have full participation from the guys on this team. That’s pretty unique. It’s a chance for us all to bond and to start putting the wheels in motion for the following season. The foundation is put in place at this time of year, what you do in March, April, May and June -- what you do in that minicamp and that passing camp -- it has a direct effect on the beginning of your season. And you have to come out of the gate swinging pretty hard. That’s what we’ve been able to do around here. I look forward to playing with the guys. We have everyone locked up for a while now and we’re pretty secure there. There are no question marks about what we’re going to do, it’s just a matter of going out and doing it. We have a great unit, and with Dante [Scarnecchia] and his style, he’s not going to let anyone slack off. There is no complacency and that’s a good thing. We require a lot out of each other.”