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David Andrews Becomes the Latest Free Agent to Forget That Playing for the Patriots is Sheer Misery and Signs With Them Anyway. Sad.

I once heard someone say something to the effect of "Don't send flowers to my funeral. Send me my flowers while I'm still alive to enjoy them." Which I assume was a metaphor. Because I'm not sending you flowers. Life is tough enough without having a reputation as the stalker who goes around sending people flowers like a creep. 

I mention this because not two days ago, Patriots center/fan favorite David Andrews was as good as gone. It was announced he and the team couldn't agree to terms and that he was hitting the free agent market. Then, when they announced former center Ted Karras was back on a one-year, $4 million deal, that was that. So I sent this written bouquet to the funeral of his career in New England:

tl;dr; Andrews made the roster as a UDFA out of Georgia in 2015. Took over the center spot from Bryan Stork, who had just won the Super Bowl starting as a rookie the season before. Solidified the interior of the offensive line. Went to three more Super Bowls, winning two. Was instrumental in shutting down the Rams inside pass rush led by DPOTY Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh in Super Bowl LIII. Had to miss all of 2019 with blood clots in his lungs. Despite that, came back in 2020 rather that take the opt out. And was one of the few bright spots in a generally depressing year. 

But the reports of his departure were greatly exaggerated. Like everyone else, I assumed he'd go sign with Miami. In the way that the Pats and Dolphins exchanged defensive tackles Davon Godchaux and Adam Butler, they'd swap centers in Karras and Andrews. But Miami signed Matt Skura instead. And, finding the free agency was a bear market for centers late Thursday night Andrews agreed to come back to Foxboro. And not on some low rent, "Prove It" deal, either. But a four year contract, that, in NFL terms at least, will more or less make him a Patriot for life. 

Let that be a lesson to us all. Just because it appears like a guy is gone doesn't mean he's gone. Like Dont'a Hightower a few years ago, Andrews must have had an agreement that he'd be allowed to test the market, find out what the numbers are like, and they weren't too insane, the team would match. And in Hightower's case, he was not only the top free agent on the market, the Jets gave him cupcakes on his birthday. But he was able to resist that tempting siren song and go back where he belongs. As now has Andrews. And Kyle Van Noy, Trent Brown, Pat Chung, Brandon Bolden, Ben Watson, LeGarrette Blount, Deion Branch and others who played for Bill Belichick, left to go play elsewhere for a while, and came back to play for him again. All veterans who apparently weren't CC'ed on the email that said playing in New England is drudgery and they should nope out of there to go play for Coach McFun someplace where the weather is perfect all year and you … wait for it … get to be yourself

The Patriots continue to be a place where guys who value work, are dedicated to winning and appreciate the opportunity to be coached hard by the best who's ever done it want to go in order to achieve their best. Guys like Jonnu Smith:

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For the Patriots, Andrews return is nothing less than a coup. It gives them a rebuilt, solid offensive line of Andrews flanked by Michael Onwenu and Shaq Mason at guard, with Brown and Isaiah Wynn at tackle. Depth in the middle thanks to Karras, who can play any of the three interior spots. With Justin Herron backing up at tackle. And Hjalte Froholdt and possible Yodny Cajuste filling in elsewhere in their third years. 

So this is a great signing anyway you look at it. I'm not sorry I wrote a farewell tribute to a guy who's not leaving. Andrews deserves it. And he deserves the coveted long term extension so few Patriots ever get. He's earned it.