The Road Out of Foxboro Is Filled with Potholes

Gary WolffContributor IIDecember 30, 2008

Bob Kraft has constructed and nurtured a fantastic culture and home for any NFL player. Sir Kraft has great vision, has much power amongst the league owners, is very personable and relates with many of his players one on one, and has in my opinion created a home for players that is the most desirable in the league.

Bill Belichick's no nonsense, all-football approach, the stadium, the Patriot hall of fame, the non-football support system for the players, and many other components all add up to the best place in the league to land as a player.

But like in all walks of life, people get complacent and think the grass is greener elsewhere, or at least they think the money is greener.

Here's a list of some recent players and coaches that have traveled the treacherous road out of New England. Granted, some left because they felt they could advance their careers, and you can't blame them for that, but many left for the almighty dollar, which is a big mistake in my opinion.

Regardless of the reason one leaves New England voluntarily, it is a bad choice.  There is no place better to be.


David Givens 

A seventh rounder who, in his rookie year, could get open but couldn't catch the ball.  Worked his butt off and became an outstanding starter. He had it made, playing with Tom Brady and being coached up by the masterful crew in New England. 

Like many, he forgot how he achieved his success. Definitely through his own doing based on his commitment and effort, but with out the coaching, the system, and the players along side him, his achievements could not have been so grand. He lost sight of this perhaps and went for the big contract, which always seems to be out there.

He got his money, and never played again. He blew out his knee and never seemed to recover.


Deion Branch 

A second rounder who got a decent rookie contract as a result. A pretty good talent, but beyond his talent and commitment, he lost sight of the environment that allowed him to reach his maximum potential. 

Then he got greedy, overlooked the benefits of the Kraft and Patriot family, the coaches, the players, the endorsements and other financial opportunities that he had, and focused solely on the big contract. 

The ego can work for you and work against you. Deion found out how average his talent really is in the great Northwest.


Ty Law 

Ty was big in college, and came into the NFL with a big contract as a result.  In spite of the grief he got about "needing to feed his family," I stood up for Ty (I did grow up in MA and am a U of Michigan grad, so its hard not too) because he simply wanted to get what his contract said. 

You can't argue with that, even though almost all contracts have voidable, impractical years stuck on the end of them to massage player and agent egos. Anyway, Belichick, a man of high character, honored Ty's demand to get paid what he negotiated to get paid.

However, that still wasn't enough "respeck" for Ty, he had to be the highest paid player at corner.  Didn't matter who or where, just show Ty the money baby.  He's still around and still getting paid.

Can't say he didn't do the right thing, but I can say he could have made as much money as he needed for the rest of his life, and had so much more than monetary wealth, if he took a little bit less to stay in New England.


David Patten 

I'm not sure David wanted to leave when he did, but he accepted a relatively lucrative deal from Washington and was a total bust there.  He's in New Orleans now and meeting with some modest success, but he would had it all if he stuck around.


Randall Gay

Randall was undrafted I believe—either that or a seventh rounder.  Nick Saban obviously liked him because while at LSU, he put a bug in Belichick's ear about Gay.  As fate would have it, he became a key contributor and did a serviceable job and then some on his way to getting a Superbowl ring. 

He too, left for browner pastures. Although in Randall's case, he went home to New Orleans, so I can see where that has some legitimate pull beyond the green backs.  He is playing for New Orleans still, but not very well.


Daniel Graham

Graham, a mauling blocker, supposedly with some hands.  He had a very good career in New England, but never became the receiver he should have.  His stature and tenure with the cultivating environment in New England enabled him to demand top dollar as well. 

He, like Gay, took a deal with his home team. Denver in Graham's case. I thought under Shanahan, with Cutler as the QB, he would break out as a receiver.  He's done little in Denver to earn his fat contract.


Damian Woody

Woody couldn't handle the shotgun snap. I thought that was a joke at first, but apparently he just couldn't do it and got bumped from center to guard. Oddly enough, that incompetence ended up benefiting him in terms of a huge contract for a guard at the time he left for Detroit

I'm not sure how much more he got by going to Detroit than he would have had in New England, but I guarantee you it wasn't worth it.  Woody escaped to the Jets this season.  I guess anything is an improvement over Detroit. 

I must confess I'm surprised Woody is still in the league.  He left for Detroit for the money, but also because I think he didn't want to work as hard as he would have needed to to earn his contract in New England.


Lawyer Milloy 

To his credit, Lawyer is still playing. I thought he would have been out of the league long ago after leaving New England. He has limited speed and stone hands.  Now, he is actually reaping some rewards for his persistence after many years of football misery in Buffalo and Atlanta.

Good for him.  I'm sure it wasn't worth the few extra dollars he banked after agents fees and taxes et al.


Drew Bledsoe 

I'm not sure if Drew belongs here, as Drew is a man of huge character that had no desire to leave the franchise he helped resurrect. But since his career floundered so badly besides the one outstanding year in Buffalo, I thought it fit the bill of a pothole-filled road out of New England. 

I love Drew and am sure he is a happy and wealthy man today.  He deserved better from New England, Buffalo, and Dallas, and surely both those latter franchises would be in a better place today if they put more faith in Drew.

Charlie Weis

Charlie, Charlie, Charlie.  I suspect you'll be back with us soon, once McDaniels gets snatched up by some team and you get sick of the negativity you have to endure in your current situation.  You had great relationships, a lot of dough, and everything you wanted but the title.  Was it worth it?

Romeo Crennel

Romeo deserved a chance, and given his age, I commend him for going for it.  Unfortunately, the first go around as top dog in the NFL is always a tough scenario and most often ends like his tenure in Cleveland ended. He did a decent job.  He just had a lot of bad situations that piled up on him.

I hope he gets another shot or ends up back in New England. He left for the right reasons, but nonetheless, there's not place like home.

Eric Mangini 

The rat.



Not sure why I put him in here. He didn't leave, he got tossed out the door and ended up nowhere. He started 19 games and got a ring (if my memory serves me correctly). Whatever the hell he did, he shouldn't have done. He should have stayed the course and prospered in New England.


Thanks Mr. Kraft! I ain't goin' nowhere.


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