After spending his rookie year on injured reserve due to blood clots in his lungs, offensive tackle Antonio Garcia‘s time with the New England Patriots has come to an end. News broke today that the 2017 third-round pick was going to be released from the Patriots with a non-football illness designation.
New England Patriots release Antonio Garcia with non-football illness designation
The Patriots are releasing 2017 third-round pick Antonio Garcia with a non-football injury designation, per @FieldYates. An offensive tackle from Troy, he spent last year on the non-football injury list. Patriots had traded up in the third round to select him No. 85 overall.
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) May 11, 2018
Before the start of last season, Garcia was largely seen as the team’s frontrunner to replace Nate Solder, who left the Patriots in free agency to sign with the New York Giants. Unfortunately, before Garcia ever got the chance to prove himself, he was diagnosed with blood clots and sat out for the entire season. During his time on IR, it was reported that his treatment contributed to him losing at least 40 lbs.
According to Garcia’s Instagram profile, he was officially cleared to return to football back in March. However, it seems that New England’s offensive line has seen enough change during the off-season to warrant Garcia’s discharge from the team.
At first glance, minus Garcia and Solder, the team’s depth at left tackle seems suspiciously thin. The worry may be exaggerated though, as the team’s roster is full of talent. Do we trust any of these guys to keep Tom Brady upright today? Maybe not. After a season of training under the toughest offensive line coach in the league? We’re optimistic.
New England’s situation at left tackle isn’t as bad as initially believed
Currently, LaAdrian Waddle and Isaiah Wynn are the top two considerations for the left tackle role. New England’s offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia discussed Wynn’s future role with the team on Friday. “He’s played left tackle in the best conference in America, […] Played it pretty good. We’re going to take a look at it, and see how it goes.”
With Garcia out, it seems that Cole Croston will take the third seat behind Waddle and Wynn. Who wins out between Waddle and Wynn remains to be seen. In any event, either player would serve as a solid backup to the other. Solder’s loss will still be felt in the upcoming season, but perhaps not as much as initially thought.
For what it’s worth, Scarnecchia seems confident in his line this year. “I want to make this really clear; I like the guys we have here right now,” he told reporters. “I’m really excited about working with these guys.”
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