Thursday July 16th, 2015

New England Patriots offensive lineman Dan Connolly announced his retirement on Thursday after 10 NFL seasons.

Connolly, 32, started 13 regular season games in 2014 and started at guard during each of the team’s three postseason games, including the Super Bowl XLIX victory over the Seattle Seahawks.

Connolly was an restricted free agent and says he received interest from several teams, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and could have played one or two more seasons.

Connolly said the Super Bowl victory was one of the reasons he decided to retire.

"It definitely played a part in it; helped me sleep better. I'm more at ease with the decision," Connolly said, according to

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He said he thought about his family and his health when making the decision to retire. Connelly says he has had four diagnosed concussions in the NFL.

"It's important to me to leave the game healthy," Connolly said. "I'm able to be here for my kids and walk away on my own terms. I feel like I got everything I could out of football in playing 10 years, winning a Super Bowl, and playing alongside some truly great players."

Connolly went undrafted in 2005 NFL draft and signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, spending two years there before playing the last eight seasons in New England.

One of Connolly's biggest moments in the spotlight came in December 2010, when he returned a squib kick 71 yards against the Packers, nearly scoring a touchdown. 

He appeared in 89 regular season games during his career, including 71 starts.

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"The locker-room friendships, I just don't know if you can get that type of connection in any job in the world; being together in training camp and hotels on the road, that close-knit bond is something I'll definitely miss," Connolly said.

- Scooby Axson

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