Jared Veldheer would be learning how to protect Tom Brady’s blind side right now if his body agreed with the plan.
The former NFL left tackle explained to MLive.com’s Peter J. Wallner on Wednesday why he retired shortly after signing with the New England Patriots. After playing through a hip problem last season, Veldheer was hoping he’d recover fully by the time the Patriots’ organized team activities began, but the joint didn’t cooperate.
“It was easy (decision) because of knowing what my body was telling me, but it was hard because I was leaving a very good situation being with the Patriots,” Veldheer said. “(Head coach Bill Belichick) understood, and everyone in the NFL building understands that the sport can do a number on your body and different guys have different timelines on how long they can make it through.
“My hips, particularly my left one, was in pretty bad shape (after the season). But I got some stem cell therapy, some other treatments and started to feel better and I thought the things I was doing were going to help.
“When March rolled around I thought I could give it a go, but once I went out there to do actual football stuff, the hip felt exactly how it did at the end of the season,” Veldheer said. “There was just no way I was going to put my body through that. I couldn’t conceive even trying to make my body do that.”
Instead of Veldheer, who played 113 games over nine seasons, starting at left tackle, the Patriots will rely on Isaiah Wynn, Marcus Cannon, Cole Croston, Dan Skipper, Cedrick Lang, 2019 third-round draft pick Yodny Cajuste or undrafted rookie Tyree St. Louis to man the pivotal spot on the offensive line.
The scenario is less-than-ideal, but sports fans of all stripes should be able to understand why Veldheer couldn’t accomplish what he set out to do in New England.