Shedding Some Light On The Subject

Matt Light is just one of many professional athletes who "get it". By that, he understands there is life after football, and he needs to be prepared. in addition to the many charitable functions Light attends, he also made time for some more learning this year.

Fresh off his second Pro Bowl in as many seasons, Matt Light enjoyed his return engagement more than his first trip to Hawaii.

"It was good, it was fun ... a lot better than the first one. You know, having your teammates there with you and being able to go through it together ... a lot more fun."

He had to make the most of his time in the tropics in February, because in March, while most college students are on spring break, Light went back to school.

He's back at Gillette Stadium, taking part in the team's offseason strength and conditioning program. But in the short time he had off, Light managed to squeeze in another session of the NFL's business management and entrepreneurial program.

Each offseason, the league partners with some of our nation's most prestigious B-schools -- Harvard, Kellogg (at Northwestern University), Stanford, and Wharton (at the University of Pennsylvania) -- to give its players a chance to continue their business education or to get started on it for the first time.

"They start from ground zero, but they quickly build and give you a good foundation, and they really teach you how to look at things," said Light. "Whether you've had experience as a business major, or engineering like I did, they relate to guys really well. You're getting instruction from some of the top professors from around the world, so it's kind of hard to go there and not learn something or walk away with something."

There are usually two sessions, each typically lasting four full days. Classes begin at 8 a.m. and conclude around 9:30 p.m., according to Light. In past years, Light attended Wharton and Harvard. Earlier this month, he took part in the sessions at Kellogg. Each school's program focuses on a different aspect of business.

"They've developed these programs that are geared toward things that guys have shown interest in or gotten involved with, either starting a new business, being a young entrepreneur, and the pitfalls and challenges that come with that," Light explained.

"Or guys that have gotten into sports marketing, or guys that have shown interest in things off the field, whether it's broadcasting or marketing yourself. And how to look at financials, all the things that come with getting involved in a business, a real estate deal, et cetera.

"It's important for guys, when they get done playing college ball ... and in college, your emphasis was school, but usually the priority was football ... so, a lot of guys don't walk away with their degree. And the ones that do, and really enjoyed their college experience, really wish they could do some continuing education.

"And that's what these programs are great for. The more you know, the better decisions you can make," Light concluded, before adding with a laugh, "Hopefully, the less money you'll lose."

Making Amends

Patriots owner Bob Kraft, left, and general manager Scott Pioli seen here Sunday, Dec. 12, 2004 (AP Photo/ Robert E. Klein)

Sometimes a simple apology is all it takes.

Owner Robert Kraft addressed his fellow owners and the 31 NFL coaches at the NFL meetings to say he was sorry on behalf of the franchise for the "Spygate" scandal.

The owner of the Patriots apologized on behalf of the franchise for illegally filming the signals of the New York Jets Sept. 9, which resulted in a $250,000 fine, the loss of a first-round pick and a $500,000 fine for coach Bill Belichick. Kraft focused on the respect his family has for the NFL.

Colts coach Tony Dungy called Kraft's speech "heartfelt."

"I thought it was very, very sincere and heartfelt, and I appreciated what he had to say," Dungy said. "I'll leave it as private; that was the way it was supposed to be."

Colts president Bill Polian said he thought the apology showed how much class the Kraft family has and how much they care for the league.

"I think it's a wonderful thing for Mr. Kraft to do," Polian said. "I personally don't think it was necessary, but that's just typical of the kind of class he has. I certainly appreciate everything that Mr. Kraft and his family have done for the league. They've made this league a much better league since they've been members of it and certainly from one man's point of view he doesn't need to apologize for anything.

"The New England Patriots have been a bellwether for this league as long as the Kraft family has owned them. They're tough to play against and that's all for the good, but as far as being good citizens in the National Football League they're at the top of the charts."

Bill Belichick also spoke at the NFL meetings, which was out of the ordinary for the usually elusive Patriots head coach.

"That was corrected in September," Belichick said about Spygate. "Like I said, we modified some of the other procedures organizationally. I think the good part of it -- if there is a good part of it on our end -- is we'll be more efficient, more streamlined, and have a better organizational operation than we had in September. If that was the intent of the commissioner's penalty, then, at least for the New England Patriots, that was certainly achieved."

Unless any further proof comes forward, it appears that the Patriots and the NFL are prepared to put the dark cloud of Spygate behind them for good.


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