Years Played for New England: 1993 - 2007
Rank on New England's All-Time Receivers List: 1
Troy Brown exemplifies the type of blue-collar, hard-working football player that left it all on the football field and was willing to do whatever was needed to help the team win. Brown retired in 2008 as the longest tenured New England Patriot after playing with the team for his entire 15-year career. He had played on five of the team's six Super Bowl appearances, winning three of them. He retired with the most receptions in team history and ranking first on the All-Time List. He recorded 557 receptions for 6,366 yards and 31 touchdowns. Even if Wes Welker finishes with all of New England's receiving records before his career is over, nobody can touch what Troy Brown meant to the franchise and their fanbase.
Troy Brown was drafted in 1993 out of Marshall University and nearly missed the team after being cut. He was re-signed on October 19th, 1993, however, and began on a long, tenuous journey working his way up the roster. It didn't help, in the beginning of his career, he played behind both Terry Glenn and Shawn Jefferson, and not to mention, Ben Coates at tight end.
Before I get flamed because he played a number of his seasons with Drew Bledsoe, he made his biggest contributions after Tom Brady became the starter. He has rings from all three Super Bowl wins, only David Patten can match that (and he was hurt for most of 2003 and benched in favor of younger receivers in 2004), and in 2001, he was a commodity in winning the franchise's first championship. He posted 101 receptions for 1,199 yards and five touchdowns.
Although he wasn't as miraculous as Moss or not as big as a tight end, Troy Brown shined in the organization regardless of statistics. He retired as the consummate New England Patriot. When he was called upon, Brown would do whatever was needed to help the team. In 2004, after younger receivers, like Deion Branch, were given the starting positions, he still found his way onto the field, as a defensive back, he even ranked second on the team with three interceptions.
It's expected that Troy Brown will eventually be surpassed, but as of right now, there hasn't been a more successful and reliable target in the decade Tom Brady has been playing as the starting QB of the New England Patriots.