Report: Patriots Rookie Center Dustin Woodard Is Retiring

Devon Clements

That explains the Tyler Gauthier signing. 

New England Patriots 2020 seventh-round pick, center Dustin Woodard has decided to retire, according to ESPN's Tom Pelissero. 

Woodard's decision to retire is reportedly not COVID-19 related, but rather "he's simply deciding to walk away."

On Wednesday the Patriots signed center Tyler Gauthier. The signing made sense from a depth perspective, but no one saw a rookie retiring as the reason that Gauthier rejoined the team. 

Woodard - who played his college ball at Memphis - was as reliable as they come during his collegiate career. He started 52 of a possible 54 games during his time at Memphis, which was tied for a program record for most starts by an offense lineman. It's also worth noting those starts came consecutively. He also holds the school record for most games played by an offensive lineman. Woodard was expected to slot into Ted Karras's role, which was primarily as a reserve option behind Andrews. Karras got the chance to start last season due to Andrews missing the season, and played well enough to earn a a contract from the Dolphins, albeit for just one year and $3 million with a $3 million signing bonus. 

New England now has starter David Andrews and Gauthier as the two options at center. 

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