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April 28 birthdays in Pats History: Rocky Bleier gets traded away for a jag that lasts two games


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Today's Birthdays in Patriots History
Rocky Bleier gets traded away for a box of jockstraps
A total of 29 games played for the Pats between five jags

April 28, 2000: The Patriots hire Ernie Adams to be their Football Research Director

Happy 29th birthday to Dominique Easley
Born April 28, 1992 on Staten Island
Patriot DT, 2014-15; uniform #74, #99
Pats 1st round (29th overall) selection of the 2014 draft, from Florida

The Pats took a gamble drafting Easley, who had torn both ACLs in college. He was an explosive player when healthy, but that was the issue. Easley missed five games in each of his two seasons in New England and was limited to 25% of the defensive snaps both years. Easley signed with the Rams and did not miss a game in 2016, but was available for just three games after that, his career ending after two season ending stints on IR.

Happy 31st birthday to Kenjon Barber
Born April 28, 1989 in Lynwood, CA
Patriot RB, 2018; uniform #38
Signed as a free agent on Sept 11, 2018

Kenjon Barner was originally a sixth round draft pick by Carolina out of Notre Dame, in 2013. Like many late draft picks he has moved often; in his case signing with a new team nine times thus far. Unlike other bottom of the roster players Barber has twice been Special Teams Player of The Week, totaling 539 NFL special team snaps, 85 punt returns (7.4 avg) and 55 kickoff returns (23.5 yards per).

Barner was signed and cut three times by the Pats in 2018, appearing in 42 snaps over five games while rushing for 71 yards on 19 carries.

Kenjon Barner's biggest claim to fame is that he may be the only player who owns three Super Bowl rings with three different teams. Number one came with Philadelphia in Super Bowl 52 when he had three kick returns for 73 yards. Next was for being a member of the 2018 Patriots, when they won Super Bowl 53, and he received a third for being with Tampa in 2020.

And a tip of the hat to anyone that remembers the name of even just one of these former Patriots that were born on April 28:

Happy 40th birthday to Christian Morton
Born April 28, 1981 in St Louis, Missouri
Patriot CB, 2004; uniform #25
Pats 7th round (233rd overall) selection of the 2004 draft, from Illinois

Staring in 2004 many Bill Belichick detractors shouted that BB was incapable assessing defensive backs, and Morton was part of that initial draft class. In the hoodie's defense, Morton was an extremely late pick in the 2004 draft: the very last selection prior to supplemental picks. Regardless, he was lumped in with safeties Guss Scott and Dexter Reid as evidence that Belichick was a horrible GM by the naysayers. Morton never played a single down for the Pats other than in the preseason; the Pats cut him after training camp on September 5. From 2004 to 2009 he bounced around the league between Cleveland, Atlanta (twice), Washington (twice), Carolina, Denver and Tennessee. Morton appeared in a total of 14 NFL games with one interception, four passes defensed and one fumble recovery.

8/18/04: Rookie Spotlight: CB Christian Morton |

Happy 64th birthday to Ken Hartley
Born April 28, 1957 in Hamilton, Bermuda
Patriot punter, 1981; uniform #7

Though he was born in Bermuda, Hartley was actually a local: he went to King Philip High School in Wrentham, and Dean Junior College in Franklin. In Ron Erhardt's final season as head coach for the Patriots the team had plenty of positions that needed an upgrade, and punter was no exception. The season began with Mike Hubach handling the duties, but after five games and a 38.2 yard average he was let go.

Things got worse with Hartley, who lasted only two weeks. In his first game a partially blocked punt led to a touchdown in a 28-24 loss to the Jets. The following week against the Oilers Hartley punted for 50 yards - not an average, but a cumulative total for his two punts. Overall Hartley had nine punts for 266 yards and a long of 41, averaging a miniscule 29.6 yards per punt.

Thankfully he was quickly replaced by Rich Camarillo, who brought stability and competence to the position over the next seven seasons. Hartley later spent two seasons with San Antonio in the USFL.


Happy 76th birthday to Phil Clark
Born April 28, 1945 in Burlington, Kentucky
Patriot safety, 1971; uniform #22
Acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh on October 1, 1971

Clark is the answer to a trivia question asking what was the worst trade in the history of the Patriot franchise - which says quite a bit, considering the competition. On October 1, 1971 the Patriots traded RB Rocky Bleier to Pittsburgh for Clark, who had been benched as starter with both Dallas and Chicago in the previous two seasons. From Donald Hubbard's book, 100 Things Patriots Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die: Dynasty Edition, there is this explanation:

A Loyal Soldier
One of the Patriots' worst trades may be their most obscure one. On October 1, 1971, they traded former Pittsburgh Steelers RB Rocky Bleier back to Pittsburgh for safety Phil Clark. Bleier, a rare modern professional athlete who fought in the Vietnam War, returned badly wounded from that conflict. As a Steeler, he gained thousands of yards and helped lead fellow back Franco Harris to even more. Clark played two games for the Patriots as his career ended that fall. Most likely the trade constituted a favor to Steelers owner Dan Rooney, who wanted to keep Bleier on the roster while he recovered from his war wounds.

Clark is now employed in the health field, focusing on non-traditional wellness.

Guided Meditation with Philip Clark

Happy 31st birthday to Jerel Worthy
Born April 28, 1990 in Dayton, Ohio
Patriot DE, 2014 offseason; uniform #97
Acquired for a conditional draft pick (not exercised) on Aug 13, 2014

Jerel Worthy was a 2nd round pick by Green Bay in 2012, but a bit of a draft bust. He started just four games (all as a rookie) while appearing in 40 NFL games over seven seasons, with six NFL teams. The Pats waived Worthy after 17 days in training camp, prior to the start of the 2014 season.

One other NFL player with New England roots born on April 28:

Mark Bavaro turns 58 (b 4/28/1963)
The two-time All Pro tight end was born in Boston and grew up in Danvers. According to Bill Belichick, Bavaro belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.


Staff member
April 28, 1981: Day One (rounds 1-6) of the NFL Draft, from the New York Sheraton Hotel
  • OT Brian Holloway, Stanford (1st round, #19 overall)
  • RB Tony Collins, East Carolina (2nd round, #47)
  • [3rd round #74 had been previously traded for RB Chuck Foreman]
  • LB Don Blackmon, Tulsa (4th round, #102)
  • DT Steve Clark, Kansas State (5th round, #130)
  • G Ron Wooten, North Carolina (6th round, #157)

That is an extremely solid draft.
Holloway was a three-time Pro Bowler at LT from '81-'86.
Collins had 7,003 yards from scrimmage and 44 TD from '81-'87, and to this day remains near the top of all rushing categories in franchise history.
Blackmon was discussed the other day as one of the best, and most underrated linebackers to ever wear a Patriot uniform.
Wooten never missed a beat, missing just five games as the starter at RG from '82-'88.


Staff member
April 28, 1982: Day Two (rounds 4-12) of the NFL Draft, from the New York Sheraton Hotel
  • DE George Crump, East Carolina (4th round, #85 overall)
  • LB Brian Ingram, Tennessee (4th round, #111) [from trade previous day with SF]
  • S Fred Marion, Miami (5th round #112)
  • DB/KR Ricky Smith, Alabama State (6th round, #141)
  • LB Jeff Roberts, Tulane (7th round, #168)
  • LB Ken Collins, Washington State (8th round, #197)
  • WR Kelvin Murdock, Troy State (9th round, #224)
  • K Brian Clark, Florida (10th round, #253)
  • (11th round 1982 pick used to select WR Chy Davidson in 1981 supplemental draft)
  • QB Steve Sandon, Northern Iowa (11th round, #296) [pick acquired in 8/31/81 Bill Currier trade to NYG]
  • WR Greg Taylor, Virginia (12th round, #308)

Fred Marion was an excellent value at #112. There's not much else here, but to be fair it looks bad in large part to drafts being twelve rounds long at that time.


Staff member
April 28, 1987: Day One (rounds 1-7) of the NFL Draft, from the New York Marriott Marquis
  • OT Bruce Armstrong, Louisville (1st round, 23rd overall)
  • (2nd round pick sent to Bucs 2/19/87 in trade for LG Sean Farrell)
  • RB Bob Perryman, Michigan (3rd round, #79)
  • Traded down: a 3rd (#81) and 10th (#274) to the Raiders for two 4ths (#98, #102) [3rd came in '86 trade w/Wash]
  • QB Rich Gannon, Delaware (4th round, #98) [from trade above]
  • DB Derrick Beasley, Winston-Salem State (4th round, #102) [pick from Raiders trade]
  • LB Tim Jordan, Wisconsin (4th round, #107)
  • OT Danny Villa, Arizona State (5th round, #113 [trade with Tampa for 1986 6th]
  • DE Tom Gibson, Northern Arizona (5th round, #116) ['86 trade with Chargers for Vencie Glenn]
  • WR Gene Taylor, Fresno State (6th round, #163)
  • (7th round pick sent to Tampa as part of trade for Sean Farrell)


Staff member
April 28, 2004: New England signs two free agents
The Pats sign 31 year old veteran free agent Jeff Burris to a one-year contract. Burris was a 1st round draft pick out of Notre Dame in 1994 by Buffalo. The LCB played in 144 games with 120 starts over ten seasons for the Bills, Colts and Bengals, with 19 interceptions and 568 tackles; he was also Buffalo's punt return man from '94-'97. Burris was released three months later on July 29, the first day of training camp for veterans.

The Patriots also signed undrafted rookie free agent Eric Alexander, from LSU. He spent most of his first two seasons on the practice squad, then saw more action after that as a special teams ace and sub linebacker. Alexander played in 45 games for the Pats over six seasons, earning one super bowl ring.

April 28, 2007: Day One (rounds 1-3) of the NFL Draft, from Radio City Music Hall
  • [on 9/11/06 the Pats traded Deion Branch to Seattle for a 2007 first (1.24)]
  • 1.24 -- S Brandon Meriweather, Miami
  • Pats trade down, sending 1.28 to San Francisco for 4.110 and a 2008 first (1.7)
  • [on 3/5/07 the Pats traded 2.60 and 7.238 to Miami for Wes Welker
  • Pats trade down, sending 3.91 to Oakland for 7.211 and a 2008 third (3.69)

Following the draft trades to their eventual selection, the net result of the Pats own original three 2008 draft picks was Welker, Jerod Mayo, Shawn Crable, Matthew Slater and Ron Brace.

While Meriweather was indeed a first round draft pick, he can also be viewed as what the Pats received in exchange for Deion Branch.


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April 28, 2011: Day One (round one) of the NFL Draft, from Radio City Music Hall
  • (Pats received 1.17 from Oakland in 2009 Richard Seymour trade)
  • 1.17 -- OT Nate Solder, Colorado
  • Pats trade down, sending 1.28 (Mark Ingram) to New Orleans for 2.56 and a 2012 first (1.27)


Staff member
April 28, 2012: Day Three (rounds 4-7) of the NFL Draft
  • (4.126: Pats had used their own 4th earlier in the trade up that resulted in Dont'a Hightower)
  • Pats trade down, sending 5.163 to Green Bay for 6.197, 7.224 and 7.235
  • (5.166: Pats had used their own 5th in 2011 trade with Cincinnati for Chad Johnson)
  • 6.197 - S Nate Ebner, Ohio State
  • (6.200: Pats had used their own 6th in 2010 trade with Philadelphia for LB Tracy White)
  • 7.224 - CB Alfonzo Dennard, Nebraska
  • 7.235 - WR Jeremy Ebert, Northwestern
  • (7.238: Pats had used their own 7th in 2010 trade with KC for SS Jarrad Page)

Post-draft the Patriots signed some undrafted rookie free agents:
- Jeremiah Warren, an offensive lineman from South Florida.
- Markus Zusevics, an offensive lineman from Iowa.
- Brad Herman, a tight end from Iowa.


Staff member
April 28, 2016: Day One (round one) of the NFL Draft, from the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago
  • Draft Pick stolen by the Flat Earth Society of Non-Science Believers residing at 345 Park Avenue that pretend the Ideal Gas Law does not exist, aka the NYJFL.


Staff member
April 28, 2017: Day Two (rounds 2-3) of the NFL Draft
  • 1.32 (traded for Brandin Cooks from New Orleans on 3/10/17)
  • Pats trade down 8 spots, sending 2.64 to Carolina in exchange for DE Kony Ealy and 3.72 (3/10/17)
  • Pats trade down 11 spots, sending 3.72 and 6.200 to Tennessee for 3.83 and 4.124
  • 3.83 -- DE Derek Rivers, Youngstown State
  • Pats trade up 11 spots, sending 3.96 (Kenny Golladay) and 4.124 to Detroit for 3.85
  • 3.85 -- OT Antonio Garcia, Troy
  • (Pats received 3.103 previously in 2016 Jamie Collins trade to Cleveland)
  • (3.103 also sent to New Orleans in Brandin Cooks trade; 4.118 Pats would have received in that trade stolen by NFL)


Staff member
April 28, 2018: Day Three (rounds 4-7) of the NFL Draft
aka the 2018 DW Toys Trade-A-Rama
  • (Pats had traded 2.51 to Chicago on previous day, for 4.105 and a 2019 2nd
  • Pats trade down, sending 4.105 to Cleveland for 4.114 and 6.178
  • Pats trade out, sending 4.114 to Detroit for a 2019 third (3.73)
  • (4.117 previously used with 2.63 to trade up for Duke Dawson, at 2.56)
  • (Pats had traded 4.131 on 9/7/16 in trade with Philadelphia for Eric Rowe)
  • (4/3/18: Pats trade Brandin Cooks and 4.136 to Rams for 1.23 and 6.198)
  • (received 5.143 previous day, along with Trent Brown from SF for 3.95)
  • 5.143 -- LB Ja'Whaun Bentley, Purdue
  • (3/14/18: Pats receive 5.159 and Danny Shelton from Cleveland for a 2019 third)
  • Pats trade 5.159 to Oakland for Cordarrelle Patterson and 6.210, on 3/19/18
  • Pats trade 5.168 and 7.250 to Seattle for Cassius Marsh, on 9/2/17
  • 6.178 -- LB Christian Sam, Arizona State
  • Pats trade down, sending 6.198 to Kansas City for 7.233 and 7.243
  • (6.205 traded to Cleveland for Jason McCourty and 7.219, on 3/15/18)
  • 6.210 -- WR Braxton Berrios, Miami
  • 7.219 -- QB Danny Etling, LSU
  • Pats trade down, sending 7.233 to Philadelphia for 7.250 and a 2019 7th (7.239)
  • 7.243 -- CB Keion Crossen, Western Carolina
  • (7.249 traded to Cincinnati for Marquis Flowers on 8/29/17)
  • 7.250 -- TE Ryan Izzo, Florida State
  • Top UDFA: CB J.C. Jackson, Maryland

That was a whole lot of work for a whole lot of nothing, other than drafting Bentley and the short term rentals.

captain stone Retired Jersey Club
April 28, 2018: Day Three (rounds 4-7) of the NFL Draft
aka the 2018 DW Toys Trade-A-Rama

That was a whole lot of work for a whole lot of nothing, other than drafting Bentley and the short term rentals.

As you were saying...

captain stone Retired Jersey Club
I will be curious to see how much playing time Bentley gets this year, with the return of Hightower (and also the re-signing of Van Noy).

Hopefully Zero, because his ridiculously over-drafted ass gets cut at the end of TC.

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