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Patriots OG Neal files retirement papers

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By PFW staff

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.

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