Patriots OG Stephen Neal has retired, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston.
Neal was listed as reserve/retired on the league's official transaction wire, officially ending his 10-year NFL career. The guard started eight games last year before going on I.R. in December with a shoulder injury. Dan Connolly filled in for Neal during the second half of the season and is considered the team's long-term option at right guard.
The way we see it
Neal had a solid professional career, starting 81 games and winning three Super Bowl championships with the Patriots. It is especially noteworthy since he didn't play college football at Cal State-Bakersfield but was a good enough wrestler that the team felt he could make the transition to the gridiron. He hadn't played a full season since 2005 and likely felt it wasn't worth it to work through another tough offseason, especially with the league's labor uncertainty looming.