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Light reveals battle with Crohn's disease

Retiring Patriots lineman reveals life-and-death battle from 2004. Terry McCormick

Print This May 08, 2012, 12:35 PM EST

Matt Light's retirement ceremony from the New England Patriots was a celebration of his 11-year NFL career with the club.

But after the ceremony was over, Light made public a very private fight that very nearly put not only his football career but his life in jeopardy. Light spoke to ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss about his battle with Crohn's disease.

Light suffered with the disease in 2004 and missed the ring ceremony at owner Robert Kraft's house celebrating the 2003 Super Bowl championship season because he was in the midst of a month-long hospital stay.

"It was one of the darkest periods in my life," said Light, whose weight dropped from 315 to 260 in the ordeal.

Light said that during the off-season, the pain would be "paralyzing" and that even after he had the surgery, another blockage was found that complicated the situation.

"It came down to the fact that, 'Look, you have to have 13 inches of your intestine removed and it has to happen now and you could be on a bag the rest of your life," he said. "If there was anything else we could do, we'd do it, but you're getting blocked and there is nothing we can do for you other than this surgery.' When you have 13 inches of your intestine removed, that's not a very simple process.

"That happened in June, and I made it to training camp in the third week [of August], but not without having literally a near-death experience where I had another blockage post-surgery that I wasn't aware of -- all these complications.

"It's not to tell the story as 'woe is me' -- I could care less about that -- but when you go through something like that and it's that wild of a time … I always wanted to finish the game of football and go out on my terms and the way I wanted to do it."

Follow me on Twitter @TitanInsider247 and @terrymc13

Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

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