Veteran Offensive Tackle Veldheer Retiring from NFL

May 22, 2019

Veteran offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, who signed with the Patriots eight days ago, is retiring from the NFL, according to a source.

The 31-year-old Veldheer projected as the No. 3 tackle behind Marcus Cannon and second-year pro Isaiah Wynn.

Veldheer amassed 113 starts throughout his nine-year career.

The unexpected retirement leaves the Patriots a bit thin at tackle. Cannon is locked in as the starter on the right side, but he’s battled injuries at times. Cannon has missed 16 games dating back to the 2015 season.

Wynn, the team’s first-round pick a year ago, is in position to take over for Trent Brown on the left side. Wynn is recovering from a season-ending Achilles injury suffered during the 2018 preseason.

Currently, rookie Yodny Cajuste looks to be the No. 3 tackle. A third-round pick, Cajuste brings plenty of potential — and injury risk — to Foxboro. He twice suffered season-ending knee injuries in college, and he’s currently rehabbing from a March quadriceps surgery. Cajuste isn’t expected to be on the field until training camp.

Third-year pro Cole Croston should see additional reps in the interim.

The Patriots could explore the possibility of adding another veteran to the group.

Garry Gilliam, who previously started for the Seahawks and 49ers, is among those who remain unsigned. Former Raiders tackle Donald Penn is also a free agent.

Excused absence

The Patriots will be without tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins for this week’s OTAs, according to a source.

Seferian-Jenkins’ absence has been excused by the coaching staff.

The veteran tight end is competing with Ben Watson for the starting job. At 6-foot-5, 262 pounds, Seferian-Jenkins possesses the size and athleticism to excel in New England’s high-powered offense. A second-round pick in 2014, Seferian-Jenkins has shown flashes throughout his career, but has struggled to put together consistent stretches. He’s appeared in 10+ games just once in his five-year career.

Seferian-Jenkins picked the Patriots over the Seahawks in free agency.

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