New England Patriots

BUFFALO, NEW YORK - JANUARY 15: David Andrews #60 of the New England Patriots looks on prior to the AFC Wild Card playoff game against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium on January 15, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

Patriots center and captain David Andrews was clearly emotional when he took the podium after the team’s season-ending loss to the Buffalo Bills. Asked about the 1-4 stretch to end the season, Andrews took a reflective tone.

“Pretty frustrating. I think, as a competitor you sit up here and you analyze everything. What you could have done better, you know? Lot of guys in that locker room that have been here a lot time and – I don’t know,” he said.

“There’s finality in everything, right? There’s just finality in the team. There’s guys who will leave, there’s guys who will retire. There’s coaches that’ll leave,” Andrews continued. “Whatever it may be, it’s a finality, and that’s just part of it. It’s part of this business. And it makes it hard.”

Those potential departures will be in the spotlight over the next few weeks. The Patriots have 22 players set to become free agents in March. Retirement rumors have centered on linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Devin McCourty, and kickoff coverage specialist Matthew Slater in recent years. All three franchise cornerstones are not signed beyond this season.

As for the coaches, linebackers coach Jerod Mayo has been interviewing for head coaching openings. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels has also been rumored as a head coaching candidate, and some have speculated long-time running backs coach Ivan Fears could retire.

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Alex Barth is a writer and 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. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.