David Andrews played in his first game since Super Bowl LIII on Sunday when the New England Patriots started the 2020 NFL season with a Week 1 win over the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium.
Andrews missed all of the 2019 campaign after being hospitalized with blood clots last August. The Patriots center worked hard to return to the game he loves, and he's very grateful for the opportunity in front him.
“I think about this time last year when I didn’t know if I would ever be able to step back on a football field and then I think about what happened this spring and what we’re still dealing with, and I really didn’t know when the next time I would step back on would be, so I am extremely grateful to get to play this game," Andrews said.
"God has been good to this kid from Georgia and this game has been really good to me, so I am just extremely thankful.”
One of the coolest moments from the Patriots' season-opening victory came in the second quarter after Cam Newton scored the team's second touchdown. Instead of spiking the ball and celebrating like he did on his first score, Newton gave the ball to Andrews for him to spike.
Andrews appreciated the gesture.
“It was awesome, and you know you have to love watching that guy play the game and seeing all of the work that he has put in," Andrews said. "I am super proud of him, and we had some fun out there today.”
Newton missed most of 2019 as injuries kept him sidelined for the Carolina Panthers' last 14 games in the regular season. It wasn't the same situation that Andrews faced last season, but both of them overcame adversity to return to the field.
"Dave is a person who was kind of in my boat, a person that has been out of football, and for him to enjoy that just as much as I've been enjoying just being a witness of how he works, how he, his whole presentation, how he shows up each and every day, how he practices," Newton said.
"And he was the first person that I saw, so I knew he would enjoy that. A lot of times, having your hand on the ground, you don't necessarily get the recognition that's deserved. But none of what happened for me today would not have happened without those big guys up front."
Newton, by all accounts, has been an excellent teammate in his brief tenure with the Patriots, and head coach Bill Belichick noted that following the game.
"He's a very, very unselfish player," Belichick said. "He's a great teammate. He's earned everybody's respect daily. He just continues to do everything that he can to help our team, and that's really all you can ask from anyone. He continually does that. He puts himself last and the team first. He's done a tremendous job there."