What inspired David Andrews to return for 10th season with Patriots

What inspired David Andrews to return for 10th season with Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

FOXBORO -- David Andrews never really hinted at the possibility of retirement after New England's season finale back in January. But the nature of the gig would suggest that retirement wasn't all that far off. And he didn't exactly commit to playing in 2024, either.

He had just finished up his ninth season -- a season in which his team won just four games -- and he was asked after a 17-3 loss to the Jets if there was any uncertainty about his on-the-field future.

"I dunno," he said at the time. "I think I still got something in the tank, you know? But we'll see. I'm tired. Sore. It's been a long year. I'm gonna go home. I'm gonna go back to Georgia. I'm gonna sit on my tractor with my son. Take him deer hunting. Then I'm going to get back to work and see where it goes from there."

A few months later, Andrews has once again committed to helping lead the Patriots toward whatever comes next.

“It is not much about loving the game," Andrews said Thursday. "I'll be 65 years old and still love the game. But just making sure I can do all the things I need to do to prepare and be ready to go on Sunday.

“I took some time and got away and spent some time with my family, much needed. That desire was still down in there to wanna get up and go train and do all the things I need to do to take care of myself."

Andrews explained that preparing for a season isn't what it used to be for him. He remembered years ago giving Matthew Slater a hard time for spending three hours a day working out -- with the first hour just making sure your body can function properly for the rest of the work ahead --  but now he's in the same boat. While working out at a Georgia high school earlier this offseason, players there gave Andrews the same kind of grief he used to give Slater.

Getting ready for a different type of season ahead seemed to have Andrews energized as well. With head coach Jerod Mayo and a new offensive staff in place, he described feeling a sense of eagerness to be part of the franchise's new beginning.

“Obviously with the changes and everything, getting to talk to Mayo, sit down with him, talk to him, I was very excited to be a part of something new, a change," Andrews said. "But hopefully trying to figure it out and start something new and start something good. Being a part of that process, that was something I was excited about.”

Mayo and the rest of the organization have to be thankful that Andrews felt that way. He's one of their bona fide leaders on that side of the ball, and he'll be a trusted voice to help rookie quarterback Drake Maye find his footing as a pro.

Could be a rookie passer in the early stages of his development.

Could be young offensive linemen in the Patriots locker room.

Could be a first-time head coach looking for respected vets who can disseminate his message.

Having a 10-year center and longtime captain who has seen just about all there is to see in football along for another ride? Should make everyone's life at One Patriot Place a little easier.