New England Patriots fans will not get the chance to see defensive lineman Armond Armstead play in an actual game for the Patriots. On Wednesday, the former Canadian Football League star announced his retirement from the game of football after missing the entire 2013 season with an infection.
At the young age of 23, Armstead was high on head coach Bill Belichick’s list at the defensive line position before the 2013 training camp before he was placed on season-ending injured reserve. Although he never actually played a game in the NFL, his potential excited the Patriots, especially with how he performed in the CFL.
If healthy, the former USC product could’ve been help on the defensive line. He would’ve added depth and youth to a defensive line that has its top two defensive tackles returning from season-ending injuries. The retirement may have not come as a surprise as the team did bring in veteran defensive tackle Kevin Williams before he eventually signed with the Seattle Seahawks.
Armstead did participate in some of the initial organized team activities, but wasn’t around the final two weeks, which suggested a setback in his progress. Belichick released a statement emphasizing the character of the defensive lineman who he had high hopes for.
Belichick said in a statement Wednesday, “It has been a pleasure being around Armond, as he gave us everything he could to play for us. Armond worked extremely hard since joining us last February. He’s had a lot of adversity personally that he’s had to deal with – unusual compared to most players – but he’s always had a great attitude, worked hard, and really did everything we asked him to do. While it is unfortunate he will not be able to play football, Armond is an outstanding young man who has a very bright future in whatever path he chooses.”
Armstead faced adversity before he even left college. He suffered a heart attack while playing for USC. The medical condition dampened his chances to play in the NFL, so he went the rout of the CFL to prove himself. He caught the Patriots attention, but unfortunately an infection has stood in the way or Armstead’s attempt to make an impact on the field for an NFL team.