Matt Light won three Super Bowls with the Patriots, made three Pro Bowls, and was named an All-Pro. On Wednesday, it was announced that he'll add another honor to his list of career accomplishments as he was named the 2018 inductee to the Patriots Hall of Fame.
Light was the winner of an online vote that pitted him against fellow finalists Mike Vrabel and Richard Seymour. That a lineman - someone who didn't have the career statistics or the highlight-reel plays that either Vrabel or Seymour put together during their time in New England - was able to win the fan poll is a testament to his longevity and level of play.
A second-round pick in 2001, Light started in 153 of the 155 games he played. He missed two games his rookie season. He missed one in his final year. He was robbed of the majority of the season in 2005 due to a broken leg, but he was an every-week starter in seven of his 11 seasons.
He was a staple on Tom Brady's left side as the Patriots offense transformed into the dominant force in the NFL, blocking the likes of Dwight Freeney, Jason Taylor, Terrell Suggs and other top AFC pass-rushers during that era, and he did it all while battling Crohn's disease, a condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system.
"For 11 seasons, Matt’s many accomplishments, both on and off the field, made him the consummate Patriot," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. "His contributions helped the Patriots become champions on the field and in the community. For more than a decade, Matt fearlessly protected Tom Brady’s blind side and played an immeasurably important role in delivering three Super Bowl titles and five conference championships.
"As proud as I am of Matt’s many contributions to those championship teams, I truly believe that his lasting legacy will be measured by the many positive things he and his wife, Susie, have done to help others in the community. Their investment in the lives of children will pay dividends for generations to come."
Light and his wife established The Light Foundation in 2001 to give at-risk children "a better chance at leading healthy lives by using the great outdoors to learn and grow." Light hosts a leadership camp every summer at the foundation's Chenoweth Trails facility in Ohio.
Vrabel and Seymour, two of Bill Belichick's best defensive players in New England's first phase of its dynasty, surely will at some point be inducted to The Hall at Patriots Place. But Light is first up.
The enshrinement ceremony for the 27th inductee into the Hall at Patriot Place in Foxboro will be held on the NRG Plaza outside the hall on Sept. 29, at a time yet to be determined. The outdoor ceremony is free and open to the public. Light will also be honored with a halftime ceremony at the Patriots home game against the Miami Dolphins on Sept. 30.
"Matt was a great player for this organization, at a key position," Belichick said in the days leading up to a 2012 halftime ceremony honoring Light's career. "He brought a lot to the team in terms of personality and leadership, toughness, dependability, consistency. He had a great career, starting from his rookie year and all the way through. He dealt with some personal things off the field, Crohn's disease and all that. But in spite of those challenges, he really found a way to still continue to perform at a very high level. And I think that's a great credit to him too, on the adjustments and the things that he did on that level. He was great off the field, with the team and in the locker room in terms of leadership and all that. But also in terms of his contributions to the community and what he's done with [The Light Foundation] and so forth.
"I loved coaching Matt Light. I'm glad we had him on our team. He contributed a lot. He certainly knew how to needle and irritate people, sometimes in a good way. And that was something that every team needs a little bit of, a little bit of a lighter side to their personality. And that was another one of his strengths."
Click here for NBC Sports Boston Patriots Insider Tom Curran's thoughts on the tough calls involved in selecting the Hall finalists.