New England Patriots

Patriots tackle Tony Garcia just revealed through an Instagram story that doctors have officially cleared him to play football.

The Pats selected Garcia out of Troy with the 85th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. But the tackle’s rookie year ended before it began when the team placed him on Injured Reserve just before the start of the 2017 season.

After a lost season, Garcia looks primed to make his comeback:

(Photo via Tony Garcia on Instagram)

Mysteriously, Garcia was placed on the non-football injury list last fall. It wasn’t until March 1 that the ailment was known, when Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reported that Garcia suffered from blood clots in his lungs. Garcia had to be placed on blood thinners as part of his treatment and lost 40 pounds as part of the process.

Howe also reported that Garcia was expected to make a full recovery, but the Patriots aren’t assuming anything or rushing him back to the field. But since he’s cleared to play again, that’s certainly a great sign for his ability to contribute to the Patriots in 2018.

Garcia’s recovery takes on added significance for the Pats in the wake of the departure of left tackle Nate Solder. It’s possible that the team viewed Garcia as the eventual successor to Solder in the first place. He may not be ready to take that mantle as soon as 2018, which would be his first NFL experience. But the Patriots at least appear to have him as a potential option for left tackle when camp kicks off in the summer.

— By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.