Patriots' David Andrews shares encouraging update on health, 2020 status

Patriots' David Andrews shares encouraging update on health, 2020 status

The New England Patriots played the entire 2019 season without their starting center.

But David Andrews seems intent on playing in 2020.

The Patriots center, who was placed on injured reseve last August due to blood clots in his lungs, said Monday he hopes to return to the field next season.

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"I should have a bunch of doctors’ appointments here in February, and get all that cleared up and be good to go next year," Andrews said during a Patriots Charitable Foundation event in Providence, R.I., via ESPN's Mike Reiss.

"Hopefully that goes well and then we kind of see from there. Pretty optimistic and just hope everything comes back good here the next month."

Andrews dealt with respiratory issues early in 2019 training camp and struggled with the heat and humidity during joint practices in Tennessee, per our Tom E. Curran. He was hospitalized due to blood clots in late August, and it was unclear whether he'd be able to continue his NFL career.

The five-year veteran is optimistic he'll be back in 2020 if his February appointments go well, however.

"I’m not ready to be done playing football," Andrews added, via Reiss. "If there’s any chance I can go play football, that’s what I’m going to do."

Ted Karras filled in for Andrews at center for the majority of the 2019 season but will become a free agent in March, so the Patriots would benefit greatly from having a healthy Andrews back next season -- regardless of which quarterback he's snapping to.

NFL rumors: Chiefs' Patriots Mahomes agrees to huge 10-year contract extension

NFL rumors: Chiefs' Patriots Mahomes agrees to huge 10-year contract extension

The Kansas City Chiefs are going to be a tough opponent for the New England Patriots and the rest of the AFC for many years to come.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes reportedly has agreed to a massive 10-year contract extension, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The salary details of the deal have not been reported at this time. Mahomes has two more years left on his current deal with Kansas City, so this extension would keep him with the Chiefs for 12 more seasons.

The Chiefs won their first Lombardi Trophy in 50 years last season when Mahomes led a fourth quarter comeback against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. Mahomes won Super Bowl MVP, adding to the NFL MVP he won during the 2018 campaign. The 24-year-old quarterback has thrown 76 touchdown passes with only 17 interceptions in the last two seasons (30 games played).

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Mahomes is the best quarterback in the league, and his résumé through three pro seasons -- the last two of which he's been the full-time starter in Kansas City -- is absolutely astounding.

What does this news mean for the Patriots?

Well, the Chiefs aren't going anywhere. Kansas City will continue to be a top contender in the AFC as long as Mahomes is healthy. He has a 25-8 record as a starter in the regular season, in addition to a 4-1 playoff record that includes a Super Bowl title.

The Chiefs also have been one of the league's highest-scoring offenses (32-plus points per game) in the league over the last two seasons, and no lead is safe when Mahomes has the ball. The Patriots found that out first hand during the 2018 AFC Championship Game in Kansas City. New England held a 14-0 halftime advantage, and it also led 24-21 and 31-28 late in the fourth quarter before losing both and having to play overtime. Former Patriots quarterback Tom Brady won the game in the OT period with an incredible touchdown drive on the first possession.

The AFC title win in 2018 was one of two victories for the Patriots in three matchups versus Mahomes. New England beat him twice in 2018 and lost in the 2019 regular season when the Chiefs earned a 23-16 Week 14 win at Gillette Stadium.

The Chiefs will play the Patriots again in the 2020 regular season in a Week 4 matchup at Arrowhead Stadium. You can bet the Patriots and Chiefs will play plenty more times throughout the length of Mahomes' reported extension, and it would be pretty fun if some of those games came in the playoffs.

How Patriots addressed uncertain NFL season in letter to season-ticket holders

How Patriots addressed uncertain NFL season in letter to season-ticket holders

The New England Patriots can't promise their fans the 2020 NFL season will go on as scheduled.

They can promise free parking, though.

In a letter to season-ticket holders Monday, the Patriots announced that parking at Gillette Stadium will be free in 2020 and that ticketing will be entirely digital, per Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio.

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That's no small gesture from the Patriots, as parking at Gillette Stadium isn't cheap. But it assumes NFL games will be played in front of fans, which is far from a sure thing as the coronavirus pandemic persists in the United States.

The Patriots acknowledged the possibility of games being cancelled or played in empty stadiums in Monday's letter.

"We know you, too, are eager to return and cheer on the Patriots together," the letter read, per PFT. "However as previously communicated, if for any reason a game is cancelled this season or is unable to be played with fans, you will receive a full refund for the face value of your ticket (plus associated fees) OR you will have the option to apply the full amount of a cancelled game as a credit toward a future ticket purchase."

If games are played in front of fans, digital ticketing and free parking would eliminate exchanges of cash, which present a higher risk of COVID-19 spread.

Of course, large gatherings such as NFL games present their own health risks during the pandemic. While the league reportedly decided to shorten the preseason from four games to two, it has yet to develop safety protocols for the season or decide whether fans will be allowed at games.

That decision may not come for some time as the coronavirus continues to evolve, but at least Patriots fans have the promise of free parking if they're allowed at Gillette Stadium.

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