FOXBORO, Mass. — Matt Light was a busy man throughout the lockout.
His sandals weren't buried in any sandy beaches, and his toes weren't perched by any fires, because he was busy keeping his Patriots teammates apprised of the goings-on throughout the work stoppage. That's just life as a player representative.
Once peace was restored, chaos broke out. That's when Light made the quick transition to free agent left tackle, and as a three-time Super Bowl winner who had locked down Tom Brady's blind side for a decade, Light's services were extremely appealing.
Teams were throwing around inordinate contracts, partly due to a questionable crop of talent on the market, and mostly because teams must spend at least 89 percent of the salary cap this season, as stated by the new collective-bargaining agreement. All of those factors made it seem like Light would have to leave a ton of money on the table to return to New England, which just used its first-round pick on left tackle Nate Solder.
"It got a little interesting real quick," Light said Wednesday.
Light reportedly signed a two-year deal worth $12 million, which included $7 million guaranteed. It's certainly a fair deal for both sides, especially for a player who will be fighting for his job in 2012, but logic suggests Light could have taken a lot more money elsewhere.
Sometimes, though, it really just isn't about that.
"There was a lot going on at that time, but at the end of the day, we’re back here where we belong," Light said.
Light said he didn't hear from the Patriots before the lockout, so he wasn't completely sure how it would all shake down in free agency. His goal was to stay in New England, and it sounded like the Patriots were in on him from the very beginning of free agency, if not close to it.
"There’s always doubt, unfortunately, because it’s a business," Light said. "I think throughout the whole process we were hopeful that this would be the outcome. Like I said, we’re happy to be here."
Light also said he welcomed the competition from Solder, who hasn't yet signed his rookie contract, and that it was "inevitable" for the Patriots to look toward replacing his "old bones." Because of Light's new deal and Solder's late start, there's no competition for the starting job this season, though, so it's a good sign that Light said he is more than ready to roll into his 11th season.
"There hasn't been a time in my life that I’ve been more ready to play the game of football," Light said. "I think being away from it, not being around the guys, not being able to enjoy an offseason program like we do around here, for a lot of guys, in our locker room at least, it was painful. To be able to come back here and be a part of this organization, we’re all fired up for this one."