David Andrews is one of the most important players on the New England Patriots.
The veteran center is not only a very good player, he's a tremendous leader on and off the field as a three-time captain. His presence on the field was certainly missed last season. Andrews was unable to play in 2019 after being hospitalized due to blood clots in August.
Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis
He's been medically cleared to return for the 2020 season, which is a tremendous boost for the team's offensive line. His leadership also will be needed now more than ever following the departure of longtime Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Andrews developed a strong relationship with Brady since joining the Patriots as an undrafted free agent before the 2015 season.
The 27-year-old knows it's difficult to lose teammates, especially one as important as Brady, but he's fully aware that roster turnover is something everyone in the NFL has to deal with.
"I learned so much from him," Andrews recently said a recent episode of the Athletes Over Adversity podcast. "Paying attention to details, that all the stuff matters, the little things matter."
"Unfortunately, that's just part of this business, right? You're going to lose teammates every year to trades, to cuts. I learned that early on -- my wife and I were really close with this couple. We came in together and we were actually roommates during the summer and offseason program. He ends up getting traded in the middle of our second year. You learn early on that's just part of this business, and it is what it is. You hate losing a teammate no matter who it is."
The Patriots, throughout Bill Belichick's 20-year tenure as head coach, have done a better job than just about every other team when it comes to moving forward from star players leaving. The "next man up" mentality has been a pillar of the Patriots' success over its two-decade run of excellence.
The next man up at quarterback likely will be 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham. The former Auburn star has shown signs of promise, but he's still very much an unknown with only four career pass attempts on his stat sheet.
Continuing to build a strong chemistry with Andrews will be an important factor in Stidham's ability to have a good 2020 season and help the Patriots extend their playoff appearance streak to 12 years.
David Andrews gives measured take on Tom Brady's exit from Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston