FOXBORO, Mass. — The announcement the New England Patriots made Thursday afternoon should tell you everything you need to know about David Andrews.
Five days after being placed on season-ending injured reserve, the veteran center was announced as one of the Patriots’ seven team captains for the 2019 season, retaining a title he’s held since 2017.
Patriots captains are elected via player vote, so it’s clear Andrews, who was hospitalized last week with blood clots in his lungs, commands immense respect from his teammates despite his inability to contribute on the field this season.
This wasn’t a ceremonial appointment, either. Since being discharged from the hospital, Andrews has remained closely involved with the Patriots’ day-to-day operation. He was on the sideline during the team’s final preseason game and has been a regular at practice, assisting his fellow offensive linemen during positional drills.
For players like Ted Karras, the longtime reserve who’s now expected to begin the season as New England’s starting center, Andrews has been an invaluable resource.
“Having David around is humungous,” Karras said. “Obviously, he’s a great friend. It’s a huge plus to have him around. Obviously, it’s unfortunate what happened, but a guy like that, it’s a big plus to our unit, our offense and our team to have (him around). He’s one of our leaders, so for him to be around is a testament to how good of a leader he is.”
Andrews has anchored the Patriots’ offensive line since being installed as the full-time starter in 2016, starting 57 of a possible 59 games over the last three seasons. New England will replace him with some combination of Karras and veteran newcomer Russell Bodine, who logged 74 career starts at center for the Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills before joining the Patriots via trade on Saturday.
“That’s an important position, and the relationship between the center and the quarterback is, of course, an important one,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in a WEEI interview earlier this week. “Ted’s done that. He’s been here four years and played a couple games two years ago that David missed. …
“Russell’s had a solid career. … He’s, at this point, one of the more experienced players on our team in terms of NFL experience. … We’ll see how it all fits together.”
Having Andrews, who knows what it takes to gain the trust of quarterback Tom Brady, on hand each day can only help with the transition process.
“He’s got a wealth of experience and knowledge,” left guard Joe Thuney said. “He knows the offense inside and out, so you can always pick his brain to see what he thinks in certain situations. He’s just a really smart guy, and he’s great to have regardless. Obviously, he’s injured, but it’s just great to have him.”