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Stephen Neal | Guard

Team: New England Patriots
Age / DOB:  (41) / 10/9/1976
Ht / Wt:  6'4" / 305
College: Cal State Bakersfield

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Coach Bill Belichick offered high praise for OG Stephen Neal, who announced his retirement on Wednesday.
"They don’t come any better than Steve Neal," said Belichick. "In terms of improvement and development as a player, Steve may have accomplished more than any player I have ever been around. His toughness, intelligence and competitiveness were at rare levels and all contributed to him going from being a champion in an individual sport to being an integral part of championship teams." Thu, Mar 3, 2011 02:02:00 PM

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Patriots placed RG Stephen Neal on the reserve/retired list.

Neal, 34, racked up 81 starts in a career cut short by chronic shoulder injuries. He had another operation that ended his season in December. Though Neal never went to a Pro Bowl, he played at that kind of a level into his 30s. Routinely missing games probably cost him. A mauling run blocker when healthy, Neal's retirement leaves a gaping hole at right guard in New England. The Pats will have to think long and hard about the position late in the first round.
Wed, Mar 2, 2011 06:21:00 PM

Patriots RG Stephen Neal's return to football likely depends on how successful his rehab from shoulder surgery goes.

The 34-year-old flirted with retirement last offseason before ultimately signing a two-year contract. Dan Connolly filled in admirably and is signed for $725,000 in 2011. Only $1 million of Neal's $3 million salary is guaranteed, so the Patriots have flexibility if Neal's rehab proves troublesome.
Sat, Dec 18, 2010 09:45:00 AM

Patriots placed RG Stephen Neal (shoulder) on injured reserve, ending his season.

Neal had been one of the top eight right guards in the NFL this season, according to Pro Football Focus' rankings. The Pats had been averaging 5.1 YPC in four games since Logan Mankins' return. Even with Dan Connolly proving to be a capable fill-in, Neal's absence is a loss that will sting the contending Patriots. The 34-year-old considered retirement last offseason, but he's now signed through 2011.
Thu, Dec 2, 2010 04:10:00 PM

Patriots RG Stephen Neal (shoulder) is considered day-to-day.

Neal missed last week's game with the shoulder ailment and his status for Week 11 is up in the air. "I’m going to treatment every day, trying to improve and trying to be the best that I can,’’ Neal said. Dan Connolly did a fine job filling in for Neal against the Steelers and would get the call again if Neal isn't ready this weekend.
Wed, Nov 17, 2010 10:31:00 AM

Patriots G Stephen Neal (shoulder) was downgraded to out for Week 11 at Pittsburgh.

Dan Connolly is expected to start at RG for Neal, and constitutes a downgrade for the Pats' run blocking and pass protection against the Steelers' fourth-ranked defense. None of the New England running backs make for a tantalizing Week 10 start in standard leagues, although Danny Woodhead could net a handful of catches for PPR owners.
Sat, Nov 13, 2010 09:15:00 PM

Patriots RG Stephen Neal doesn't plan to play beyond the two years for which he just signed.

The 33-year-old contemplated retirement in January before re-signing with the Pats. After dealing with a litany of injuries the past three years, Neal wants to be able to walk away before the game ruins his legs.
Thu, Mar 11, 2010 04:33:00 PM

Patriots re-signed RG Stephen Neal to a two-year contract.

The move won't get headlines, but is a good one by the Pats. Neal has been injury prone three years running, but is a mauling inside run blocker. The once-decorated NCAA wrestler has spent his whole career in New England.
Fri, Mar 5, 2010 09:09:00 PM

The player rep for free agent OG Stephen Neal says his client will test the open market this offseason.

Neal had previously been the subject of retirement rumors. "He's going to be playing," Neal's agent, Neil Cornrich, said. "We expect there to be a vibrant free-agent market for his services." Even at age 33, Neal is still an impact run blocker. The Pats are interested in retaining him, but will let Neal test the market first. He apparently won't be franchise tagged.
Wed, Feb 17, 2010 06:12:00 PM

Patriots RG Stephen Neal indicated following Sunday's playoff loss that he is considering retirement.

"I’m not sure how my body is going to feel," he said. "I’m not sure if I’ll keep playing, keep getting in them car accidents each week." Neal is still a difference-making run blocker at age 33, but has battled a variety of injuries and failed to play more than 13 games in a season since 2005.
Sun, Jan 10, 2010 07:27:00 PM

Patriots RG Stephen Neal returned to the lineup Sunday after missing two games with an ankle injury.

Neal's return allowed the Pats to use backup guard Dan Connolly as a lead-blocker, paving the way for a rushing attack that gained 197 yards on 36 carries.
Mon, Dec 28, 2009 08:40:00 AM

Patriots RG Stephen Neal left Monday night's game with an injury.

Neal just came back this week from a head injury which he suffered in Week 10. Dan Connolly came in to replace Neal.
Mon, Nov 30, 2009 09:31:00 PM

Patriots RG Stephen Neal left Sunday night's game with a head injury and is questionable to return.

Neal suffered the injury late in the third quarter. It's not clear if he will be able to return to the primetime game against the Colts.
Sun, Nov 15, 2009 11:02:00 PM

Patriots activated RG Stephen Neal (shoulder) off the PUP list.

Neal, a mean run blocker with backgrounds in wrestling and mixed martial arts, could give the Sammy Morris-led ground game a big lift up the middle.
Mon, Oct 20, 2008 06:26:00 PM

Patriots RG Stephen Neal (shoulder) and OT Oliver Ross (collarbone) will begin practicing this week.

Both players spent the first six weeks of the season on the PUP list, so the Pats will have a three-week window to decide whether to activate them for this season.
Wed, Oct 15, 2008 11:17:00 AM

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