The New England Patriots will have their starting center back this season. And he couldn’t be happier about it.
David Andrews, who missed the entire 2019 season after doctors discovered blood clots in his lungs last August, addressed his impending return to the game Tuesday in a video conference with reporters.
“I’m very fortunate that I am able to continue playing this game,” Andrews said. “I’m very appreciative of all the support I received from my family, my friends, my wife, but really the organization as a whole from the Kraft family down to Coach (Bill) Belichick to Josh (McDaniels), Scar (Dante Scarnecchia), all the coaches. And then obviously all the doctors, our medical staff, strength staff continuously working with me, to the doctors I had to deal with, the time they spent with me, the questions, a lot of phone calls, our team doctors.
“(I’m) very appreciative for all that, appreciative that I was able to — as most of you all know, saw me around the building last year, and there was some talk about how I was trying to contribute and do whatever I could to help the football team. But now, it’s in the past. I’ve said what I wanted to say on that, and I’m just really looking forward to moving forward and getting back to being a football player again. I’m really excited to get back out there whenever we can.”
Andrews announced on Instagram last month that he’d been cleared to resume football activities. He believes he’ll be full-go once the Patriots begin on-field practices, which have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m not really sure if there’s a real restriction on anything. I haven’t been told that,” Andrews said. “Part of it was the medicine I was on, and I’m off that medicine, so I can go about living my normal life. The recurrence thing, that’s something, unfortunately, you can’t really pin down, so I’m just going to go about my life, keep playing this game and doing what I can, stay as healthy as I can. I think it was just kind of a freak accident thing.”
He added: “What happened, happened. You can’t live your life in fear of if it’s going to happen again or not. It’s a violent game, and things happen — there’s a lot of things that happen. That’s just life, so I just want to move forward through that.”
Having appeared in all but four games over his first four NFL seasons, Andrews had to adapt to a drastically different lifestyle in 2019. He continued to attend practices and games and maintained his team captaincy — coaches and teammates alike praised his unwavering leadership — but longed to be back on the field.
“I think anytime you miss a season — and unfortunately, that happens every year to guys through injuries — it makes you take a step back and miss and enjoy the grind a little bit,” he said. “I still came into work every day, but I wasn’t out there competing with the guys. I wasn’t out there working with them, and you miss that. You miss that part of it. It makes you appreciative of the times, and that’s tough. You’re definitely appreciative you get to do what you want to do. Sometimes, I think we take health and things like that for granted, so it definitely makes you appreciative.
“It also kind of allowed me to look at the offense as a whole and pick up some new things, where I wasn’t really focused on a game plan each week. I kind of got to look at it from a big picture. … To be able to just kind of take a step back and look at the game as a whole and kind of watch football from a different perspective, yeah, there was definitely some good things about it, some fun things.
“But like I said, as a competitor and a guy who wants to play football, it sucks not being out there.”
The return of Andrews’ steadying presence will be a major boost for a Patriots offense that’s undergone significant foundational changes this offseason. New England will need to integrate both a new quarterback and a new offensive line coach after longtime franchise pillars Tom Brady (free agency) and Scarnecchia (retirement) both left the organization.