Troy Brown Salute: Newest Patriots Hall of Fame Inductee

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Troy Brown Salute: Newest Patriots Hall of Fame Inductee
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With an eight-yard reception in the fourth quarter, WR Wes Welker tied WR Troy Brown for the New England Patriots' all-time record for receptions. By Sunday afternoon, Welker will be in sole possession of the record.

Records are meant to be broken, but so soon? Brown had been retired for just five years. It took him 15 years to reach 557 receptions and it will take Welker just five years and two games to pass Brown.

While Brown will lose his spot for receptions, he still has the franchise record for punt returns with 252 returns. And he will go down as one of the most versatile players in Patriots history.

Brown is a Patriot Way pioneer. His journey as a professional mirrored New England’s rise from afterthought to world-beating underdog to one of the best in the NFL. For being a valuable contributor to the Patriots dynasty, Brown will be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame on Saturday.

While teams continued to use specialists, Brown effectively added defensive back to his skills in 2004, pushing versatility to a level not seen in years. People had a hard time believing the additional role was serious until Brown got his first interception against Buffalo. He finished with three that season, tied for second on the team as the Patriots won their third Super Bowl.

Who would had thought that Brown would have a 15-year career with the Patriots?

He was drafted in 1993 by legendary hard-ass Bill Parcells. It’s hard enough to get a shot as an eighth-round draft pick. It’s even tougher to convince Parcells to believe in a long shot when the team invested a second-round pick on WR Vincent Brisby that same draft.

 

 

During a WEEI radio interview with Patriots RB Stevan Ridley on Monday, Brown shared a small piece of history. Brown’s first play was a kickoff return that he fumbled and was returned for a touchdown. So much for making a good impression on Parcells.

More than once Parcells cut Brown, but Brown didn’t give up. Parcells couldn’t give up on Brown either, as Brown’s will was impossible to overlook.

It’s that will that endeared Brown to the blue-collar New England fans. They know all too well about doing whatever it takes. Watching Brown do the same throughout his career gave the fans someone they could relate to and root for every week.

And Brown proved worthy of the support. He scored the first points in the 2001 AFC Championship with a 55-yard punt return. Later he lateraled a blocked field goal to Antwan Harris for a score. And in Super Bowl XXXVI, Brown caught the 23-yard pass that virtually set up kicker Adam Vinatieri’s game-winning field goal.

Heck of a career by a receiver that did more with less. Brown was small and didn’t have breakaway speed. But he got the job done with intelligence and unending effort. Not many receivers would think to go for the ball and force a fumble like he did against San Diego in the 2006 AFC Divisional round. Those traits are why Brown lasted 15 years in the NFL.

Longevity

Al Bello/Getty Images
Brown retired as the Patriots all-time leader in receptions and punt returns.

Troy Brown was the last receiver the Patriots drafted when the draft was eight rounds. During his 15-year career, the Patriots drafted 11 receivers. Only Terry Glenn was more productive. Statistics from Pro-Football-Reference.com.

Player

Round

Career

Receptions

Yards

Troy Brown

8th

1993-2007

557

6,366

Vincent Brisby

2nd

1993-2000

221

3,202

Kevin Lee

2nd

1994-96

8

107

Steve Hawkins

6th

1994

2

22

Terry Glenn

1st

1996-2007

593

8,823

Tony Gaither

6th

1997-98

0

0

Tony Simmons

2nd

1998-2002

56

981


Sean Morey

7th

1999-2009

11

168

Deion Branch

2nd

2002-present

441

5,681

David Givens

7th

2002-06

166

2,318

Bethel Johnson

2nd

2003-06

39

606

P.K. Sam

5th

2004

0

0

Chad Jackson

2nd

2006

14

171

 

Brown’s receptions record will fall. Years from now maybe he'll lose the punt returns record too. Brown’s place in history, though, will be safe come Saturday.

 

 

Questions? Comments? Send to randolphc82@comcast.net.

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