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Who is Armond Armstead? Currently he is one of the most discussed New England Patriots, and he never even played a snap for the team.
Armstead was a defensive tackle for the University of Southern California Trojans from 2008-10. His numbers weren’t eye popping with 59 tackles in 17 games but he was declared medically ineligible by the USC staff for the 2011 season. He ended up suing the school for giving him pain killers which he believed caused him to suffer a heart attack.
After going undrafted in 2012, Armstead decided to sign with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League (CFL). His CFL campaign was successful as he recorded 43 tackles, six sacks and was named a CFL all-star. The Argonauts would go on to win the Grey Cup (the equivalent of the Lombardi Trophy).
On January 4, 2013 Armstead requested his release so he could pursue a career in the NFL. On January 22nd of the same year Bill Belichick and the Patriots swooped in to sign him. He was touted as another piece of gold mined out of obscurity by Belichick. Early reports were that he would battle veteran defensive tackles Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly for a starting position. At 6-5 and 305 pounds there was no reason to believe otherwise especially when others called him the equivalent of a high draft pick.
However Armstead’s story book journey with the Patriots got off to a rocky start when he had to undergo surgery in July for an undisclosed infection. He was placed on the reserve/non-football injury list and remained sidelined for the entire 2013 season.
Later that season as the Patriots suffered injuries to the likes of Wilfork, Kelly and others, many were left wondering if Armstead would help bolster the defensive line in the coming 2014 season. Yet as OTA’s for the 2014 season got underway Armstead was nowhere to be found. The absence of Armstead only raised the intrigue and fans were left wondering if they were going to get the player they needed him to be.
Unfortunately Armstead and the NFL will never know what type of player he could have been as he announced his retirement on July 16th, 2014. At the young age of 23 there is still a lot of potential for Armstead but it just doesn’t appear to be in the NFL. Should the Patriots defensive line suffer more injuries this season it will likely feed into the mystery surrounding the potential of Armstead.