Thursday evening, just prior to the kickoff of the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Patriots center David Andrews expressed his thankfulness on Instagram that he’ll be able to return to his job this coming season and get back to “competing” with his New England teammates.
Andrews missed the entirety of the 2019 season on injured reserve with blood clots in his lungs.
Interestingly, the post came not long after a number of mock drafts, including ESPN guru Mel Kiper Jr., slotted the Patriots with Michigan center Cesar Ruiz with the 23rd pick of the first round.
I know 2020 has affected everyone in ways we couldn’t have imagined prior. But with the draft over the next few days a lot of dreams are gonna be realized for a lot of players entering the league. During this time there has been a lot of time for reflection on the past, present and future. As to the future I’m excited that I’ll have the opportunity to play the game I love again. When and whatever the nfl season looks like I’m just thankful that I’ll be able to get back to competing with my teammates and coaches. Go pats
A post shared by David Andrews (@bear_6060) on Apr 23, 2020 at 4:25pm PDT
Now, obviously the Patriots never made that selection. They traded down and out of the first round in a deal with the Chargers. Ruiz later went to the Saints with the No. 24 selection. New England is scheduled to make its first pick of the weekend Friday night, No. 37 overall.
Maybe Andrews’ Instagram post was merely coincidental. Maybe the former undrafted free agent out of Georgia really was like the rest of the current sports-free world, simply thinking more about athletics and competition due to the Draft bringing us an appetizer of a return to the world of professional sports.
Or, less likely, maybe Andrews got some more definitive information on his return from the blood clots and the potential for the New England team captain and starting center to return to the field for full duties in 2020. That would certainly be a crazy coincidence on Draft day during these stay-at-home times.
Or maybe, just maybe, Andrews saw those mock drafts and the possibility that the Patriots might be pondering replacing him with an upgraded younger model, something that happens swiftly and regularly in the cut-throat world of NFL football, and wanted to send a reminder to Bill Belichick, Nick Caserio and the rest of the New England brass that he’s still around and planning on returning to his key job in the middle of the line.
Such reminder wouldn’t hurt these days and might be more necessary in a world with NFL facilities shut down. In a normal offseason Andrews would probably be spending plenty of time at Gillette Stadium, working back to full condition and bumping into Belichick and others from day to day and week to week. In sight and in mind, so to speak.
But it’s a weird world where different tactics are necessary in so many areas of life. Andrews may have wanted to make sure he wasn’t out of sight and out of mind. And maybe out of a job.
So maybe a smart guy like Andrews used a modern, social media way to remind Belichick and Co. that they didn’t need to use a pick on a first-round center because they have a proven, veteran center returning to reclaim his job.
After the first round of the Draft, Caserio was asked about Andrews’ Instagram post and the Patriots confidence the veteran can slide back into his job this coming fall.
“David has been a good football player for our team for a long time,” Caserio said after revealing he hadn’t seen the post. “I would say we try not to look at anybody's individual situation, we try to look at kind of the overall, all-encompassing picture. What we've always tried to do is just add players, good football players, to our team that we think can help us. Sometimes it works the way you hope. Sometimes it doesn't. That's kind of the nature of what we do. David has been a great asset to our program, multi-year captain. There's a lot of things that he brings to the table. Nobody worked harder I would say in just his capacity in his role last year. He wasn't playing. The more players. And people that we have, like David Andrews, in the building, good for the Patriots and everybody else."