The New England Patriots were without their starting center during the 2019 season after David Andrews was hospitalized last August due to blood clots.
Andrews was medically cleared to return to football earlier this year, and after talking with doctors and his wife about playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the veteran offensive lineman has made the decision to play in the 2020 season. He explained his choice Sunday in a video conference call with reporters.
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"It's something, obviously, we all have to think about and make our own choices. My choice has been made," Andrews said. "It's just something I feel comfortable with, to have the opportunity to go out and play. Talking with doctors and my wife, it's something we feel comfortable with. I'm just excited to get the chance to go out there and compete again. I'm excited for the opportunity coming up."
Did Andrews have a moment when he considered not playing?
“You obviously have to talk about it, right? I mean, it’s something we’ve never faced," Andrews said. "Not that I ever can remember having to deal with something like this, especially as a grown-up. You’ve got to talk about it, and me and my wife have. I’ve made a decision that we feel comfortable with, and like I said, I’m just super ecstatic to get this thing going here.”
Andrews is a critical part of the team's offensive line, a unit that was hit hard by injuries last season. The group recently lost starting right tackle Marcus Cannon, who decided to opt out of the 2020 campaign. Cannon is one of eight Patriots players who've decided to opt out -- the most of any team in the league.
The Patriots offense as a whole has undergone significant changes this offseason. Tom Brady is gone, so there will be a quarterback competition for the first time in almost 20 years. The wide receiver group has a few fresh faces, and the tight end depth chart features multiple rookies. But perhaps the biggest addition is the return of Andrews, who brings a high level of on-field performance, strong leadership and dependability to New England's offensive line.