Light, 33, said that he wanted to end his NFL career in part to spend more time with his family.
"I've got a daughter that's 10, and I've got two boys who are knuckleheads, and they need a lot of guidance, and they need a lot more time," Light said.
"I think that one of things that was ever apparent over the last couple seasons, it takes a lot longer to recover the older you get. Really during that six, seven, eight months of the football season, it really becomes very difficult to give much outside of a 'hi' or 'good night' or 'good morning.' That's always been really important."
Light started 15 games at left tackle last season for the Patriots, and started 173 of 175 games in his 11-year career in New England. The Patriots re-signed Light to a two-year deal last summer, but guard Logan Mankins, who played alongside Light for seven seasons, said the decision to retire had been long in the making.
"I've known for a while. Most of us knew it was coming," Mankins said. "We had some nights after games here celebrating [when] we had heart-to-heart talks about stuff like that. I think he was sharing it, bouncing it off people."
Knowing it would likely be his last, Light said he enjoyed his final season, and he believes that he leaves New England's offensive line in good hands.
"This past season there was a different mindset, maybe that's why I enjoyed some success out there," he said. "I really just felt like I am blessed to be a part of this. It made this season so memorable, so fun, for me, when I finally closed this chapter, I am truly grateful.
"Especially with this young talent, I saw how talented they were and how they were in good hands. With [offensive line coach] Dante [Scarnecchia] in the room, there's going to be high expectations.
"When you know it's your time, you just know," Light concluded.
Light was introduced by Kraft and coach Bill Belichick, who shared stories of Light's career, notably of off-field pranks for which Light became known.
While he was not present at the announcement on Monday, Brady reflected on Light's career in a video presentation, saying that he will attempt to coax Light out of retirement. Afterward, Light acknowledged that the two already have broached the topic.
"We've had the conversation, and threw out there a year's worth of Kit Kats, which he knows I'm a little partial to," Light joked. "They've got a great core group of guys, and they brought in a lot of new guys, and I'm sure that once he reconsiders it, he'll realize that his life will be a lot less chaotic and he won't have to look over his shoulder anymore, knowing no one is going to pull [a prank] on him."
Light said he will continue to serve on the NFL Players Association executive committee.
"It'll really be something that I'll embrace and I'll look forward to doing," Light said.
The entire Patriots offensive line except Brian Waters and Robert Gallery were present for the ceremony, as well as a number of the team's coaches. Former teammates running back Sammy Morris (2007-10) and offensive lineman Russ Hochstein (2002-08) also attended.
Mike Rodak is a regular contributor to ESPNBoston.com.