A key cog in the Patriots offense is set to return to the gridiron in the upcoming NFL season.
David Andrews, who missed the entire 2019 campaign due to blood clots in his lungs, announced in late April he’s been cleared to play. While Ted Karras did a fine job filling in for Andrews last season, the Georgia product ranks among the best centers in the league and undoubtedly betters New England’s offensive line as a whole.
In a recent column for NFL.com, longtime league analyst Gil Brandt listed 12 players who are poised to make big impacts in 2020 after missing significant time last season. Andrews cracked the list, along with the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, A.J. Green, Trent Williams and J.J. Watt.
“In addition to the retirement of Rob Gronkowski, another factor in the Patriots’ struggles in 2019 was the offensive line’s inability to meet the high standards set in previous years, thanks in part to the absence of Andrews, who was forced to miss the season as he dealt with blood clots in his lungs,” Brandt wrote. “Andrews’ return is great news for second-year pro Jarrett Stidham, who can rely on the veteran center to help set pass protection as he embarks on the monstrous task of replacing Tom Brady in New England. Andrews will also help strengthen the rushing attack, which should make life a bit easier for Stidham.”
Perhaps there was a silver lining to Andrews being sidelined for the 2019 season. The sixth-year pro this offseason noted his time away from the playing field allowed him to form a bond with Stidham, who’s in line to be the Patriots’ starting quarterback come Week 1.