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April 5th in Pats History: Happy 79th Birthday, Jon Morris

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jmt57

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Today in Patriots History
Jon Morris

Happy 77th birthday to Jon Morris
Born April 5, 1942 in Washington DC
Patriot center, 1964-1974; uniform #56

Pats 4th round (29th overall) selection of the 1964 draft, from Holy Cross




Jon Morris | Patriots Hall of Fame

Jon Morris played 11 seasons for the Patriots, appearing in 130 games from 1964-74. He earned seven consecutive All-Star appearances with six AFL-All Star games (1964 through 1969) and was an AFC Pro Bowl center in 1970. His seven league All-Star selections rank second in Patriots history behind Pro Football Hall of Famer John Hannah (9). Morris was the first Patriots’ player to be selected to the NFL Pro Bowl. Morris anchored an offensive line that opened holes for Jim Nance to amass a team-record 45 rushing touchdowns from 1965-71.​



New England Patriots of the Past: Jon Morris | Last Word on Football

Morris played in all 14 games of his rookie season, and immediately became known as one of the most dominating centers in football. Morris took home the team’s Rookie of the Year award in 1964, while also winning All-AFL honors and a spot on the AFL All-Star team.​
The Holy Cross product would go on to show that he was no one-year wonder, either. Morris was selected to every AFL All-Star team from 1965-1969, being named All-AFL each year. The center was an absolute iron-man, as he never missed a game during his AFL tenure.​
The AFL merged with the NFL prior to the 1970 season, and Morris went down as one of the best players in the AFL’s history. His great play and long list of accomplishments earned him the honor of being named Second-Team, All-Time All-AFL. The First-Team selection, Oakland Raiders center Jim Otto, played four more AFL seasons than Morris.​
Much like fellow Boston Patriot Gino Cappelletti, Morris remained connected to the Patriot football scene after his retirement. Starting in 1979, Morris served as the primary color commentator for the Patriot radio games. Morris would eventually relinquish the post in 1987 after receiving a better offer with NBC Sports.​
Morris had an incredible impact with the Patriot organization, both on and off the field.​




Jon Morris Elected to Patriots Hall of Fame | CBS Boston

“It was overwhelming,” said Morris of his reaction to the call from Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “I thought my days were numbered. This announcement came as a complete surprise. I consider this the crowning achievement of my football life and I am so thankful to the Kraft family and the selection committee for allowing me to experience this feeling.”​
“I give the Krafts all the credit for making the alumni feel so special and I look forward to being a part of this year’s hall of fame ceremony,” Morris added.​





Welcome to Pats Hall, Jon Morris | Mike Reiss, espn - New England Patriots Blog

Morris' selection was made by the newly formed Senior Committee. Morris will be joined this year as an inductee by one of three yet-to-be-announced finalists.​
A member of the Patriots' 50th anniversary team, 35th anniversary team, and 1960s all-decade team, Morris was a six-time AFL all-star. He had been a finalist for induction in 2008, 2009 and 2010.​
The Senior Committee, a 10-person group consisting of some of the most tenured Patriots beat writers and staff, felt it was time that Morris' wait officially ended. The establishment of the committee was to ensure that early-era players who are deserving of induction are given that consideration.​





Jon Morris on his Induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame | Tales from the AFL

Believe it or not, Jim Otto was not the only man to play center in the American Football League! As incredible and enduring as we was (and he was both), Jim Otto garners nearly 100% of the attention when the center position is brought up in regards to the AFL. But there were other very fine centers through the league, Sam Gruneisen, Jon Gilliam and Al Bemiller, to name a few.​
From 1964-1974, Jon Morris played center for the Boston Patriots. Drafted out of Holy Cross in the second round of the 1964 AFL Draft, Morris won the Patriots’ Rookie of the Year honors in ’64, and settled in for his 11-season stay as leader of the Patriots offensive line.​
In 2011, after many near misses, Jon Morris was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.​



Boston Patriots | Remember the AFL

Jon Morris was a sensational three sport athlete in high school and played center and linebacker for three seasons at Holy Cross College, where he was the New York Daily News' "Athlete of the Year" in 1960 and Varsity Club Athlete of the Year and Lineman of the Year in 1963.

Morris was selected All-East and All-America in his senior year, played in the College All-Star Game and captained the Senior Bowl. He was inducted into the Holy Cross Hall of Fame in 1973.

The Packers were unable to lure him as a No. 2 draft choice and the Patriots signed him as their third pick. Morris was the Patriots' team Rookie of the Year in 1964, and their Unsung Hero in 1965.

He was an American Football League All-Star six times, 1964 through 1969, and played 128 games for the Patriots (eighth best individual record in club history). Morris was named to the second team, American Football League All-Time Team.

* Note: At the time Morris actually ranked 7th in the history of the Patriots in number of games played with 130. He now ranks 36th, tied with Logan Mankins in that category.




Picture Day allegedly from July 15, 1971(or maybe 1969-70?): offensive line RT Tom Neville, RG Len St. Jean, C Jon Morris, LT Tom Funchess and LG Mike Montler.


Why '10 voting for Patriots HOF is so big | Boston.com

Do you feel, Jon Morris, it’s tougher for American Football League players to get recognition? Seems I set him off a little:​
“I had this conversation with someone the other day — I think it’s a disgrace that the all-time leading scorer in the American Football League is not in the NFL Hall of Fame,” Morris said, referencing Gino Cappelletti. “And I just wonder if that has something to do with it.”​
And that led us down another road.​
“I don’t know if any politics are involved in terms of the old AFL-NFL rivalry. I think that’s long gone, don’t you?” Morris continued. “I just think the longer you’re away from football, the easier it is to forget.​



Boston Patriots Near Forgotten Heroes Live with CTE - Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute

Several other former Patriot players have been diagnosed with CTE. Aaron Hernandez most recently, Junior Seau, Mosi Tatupu and Kevin Turner also played for the Patriots. These men or their relatives are part of the group of 5,000 retired football players involved in a class action lawsuit against the NFL.​
Other retired players from the 1970’s like Jon Morris, a former team captain and a member of the Patriots Hall of Fame, awaits the findings of baseline examinations. Morris played 11 seasons with the Patriots and snapped the ball to at least two quarterbacks, Jim Plunkett and Joe Kapp, who suffer from neurological disorders.​
Marty Schottenheimer, now 74 and a coach with an outstanding history, reports that he is struggling with Alzheimer’s. Bill Johnson, who played defensive back with Schottenheimer, lives with Alzheimer’s and has pledged his brain for research.​
The heroes of 1960’s and 70’s played football in a time when salaries were low and players relied on off-season work to make ends meet. Little was known about concussion and players were coached to lead with their heads. Concussion awareness in that era was low allowing players to be returned to the game often after a violent collision.​
Billy Johnson suffered a subdural hematoma attempting to take down Larry Csonka, a Dolphin’s running back in 1970. Johnson has no memory of the game but he participated in the next practice and played in the next game. He contemplates committing suicide as he lives with cognitive deficits and memory loss.​
John “Bull” Bramlett was known as “The Meanest Man in Football” joined the Patriots in 1969, He helped the team develop a reputation and earned much recognition for his ferocity of the field. He died at 73 from the complications of Alzheimer’s.​
Bill Lenkaitis studied dentistry in the off-seasons; joining the Patriots in 1971 he earned a spot on the Patriots All-Decade team. By his late 60’s he lost interest in his dental practice and according to his wife he was showing the signs associated with CTE. Lenkaitis died in 2016 from Glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, but the toll of concussions was showing long before that.​
Dennis Wirgowski played football in high school and college and excelled in other sports, he joined the Patriots in 1970 and was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1973. As he aged he lost the athleticism that had marked his life and following an orthopedic injury was confined to a wheelchair. He spoke with his football friends about his increasing depression and began to collect articles about former football players who committed suicide. On January 25, 2014 he killed himself with a borrowed shotgun.​
Many of these heroes of football are now out of sight as they live with disability or have died. It is important that we understand how multiple concussions changed their lives as we look for ways to increase concussion awareness and build greater safety into the game.​




Interesting interview with Jon Morris and his wife Gail in the link above. He mentions how when he played football players had to take part time jobs in the offseason. Morris worked with a Boston food broker, which gave him enough experience to open up his own food brokerage when his football career ended. He and his wife are now retired to an impressive sounding home on a golf resort in South Carolina.



 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Not much else going on in regards to April 5th in Pats history that I have been able to find thus far.


Happy 74th birthday to Eddie Ray
Born April 5, 1947 in Vicksburg, Mississippi
Patriot RB/TE, 1970; uniform #36
Pats 4th round (83rd overall) selection of the 1970 draft, from LSU


Eddie Ray was used sparingly (five games, one start, five carries) by John Mazur in 1970. He was on the verge of being cut at the end of training camp in 1971 when the Pats were able to trade him to San Diego in exchange for a 1972 7th round draft pick, which was used to select John Tarver. Eddie played in the NFL through 1976; his best season was in '73 for Atlanta when he scored 11 touchdowns.





Happy 50th birthday to Bob 'Scooby' Kuberski
Born April 5, 1971 in Chester, Pennsylvania
Patriot DT, 1999; uniform #93
Signed as a veteran free agent on Sept 5, 1999


Kuberski served in the Navy for two years before playing in Green Bay for four years. He earned a Super Bowl ring there when the Packers defeated the Patriots in the 96-97 season. Scooby played in five games in a reserve role with the Pats in '99, then signed with Denver as a free agent the following spring.

Kuberski has enjoyed a very successful post-football career. Following his rookie season in Green Bay he worked as an intern at Associated Investment Services. He then worked as a financial advisor at Morgan Stanley, ten years as Regional VP for Invesco, and head of retail sales for Ridgeworth Capital Management. Kuberski is now the Director of Global Relationship Management at Eaton Vance Investment Managers.

12/5/1992: Navy Defensive Lineman Contemplates NFL | LA Times

10/1/2018: One Year In, a Top Sales Vet Rises at Eaton Vance





Happy 27th birthday to Obi Melifonwu
Born April 5, 1994 in London
Patriot S, 2018-19; uniform #22
Signed as a free agent on November 6, 2018


Born in England, Melifonwu moved to the US at age three. He is a local guy, who went to Grafton High School and UConn. Obi was a second round draft pick by the Raiders in 2017. He only appeared in five games for Oakland, spending most of his two seasons there on injured reserve. Obi appeared in two games late in the 2018 season after signing with the Pats, getting 20 snaps on defense and 25 on special teams; he also appeared on special teams for the AFCCG versus Kansas City that postseason.

The Patriots signed Obi to the practice squad prior to week one in 2019, and he remained there until going on IR on November 16. He was re-signed to a future contract on January 6, and waived three days after the 2020 draft, on April 27. He is currently on the 49ers roster.





April 5, 1976: Patriots trade Jim Plunkett to 49ers
The Pats received a bevy of draft picks in return, plus backup QB Tom Owen. Two 1976 first round picks (Pete Brock, Tim Fox), a 1977 first (Raymond Clayborn), and a '77 second (Horace Ivory). It turned out to be one of the greatest trades in franchise history, if not NFL history.

For more on this transaction see the April 8th thread on the 1976 draft.




April 5, 1979: Ron Erhardt promoted to head coach.
Erhardt had been the OC for Chuck Fairbanks the previous two seasons. The Pats went 9-7 and 10-6 in his first two seasons, with the offense ranking second in points scored both times. However in 1981 the Pats ranked near the bottom in both takeaways and giveaways, going 2-14. That was the finish to Erhardt's head coaching career, though he did effectively work for 14 more seasons as the OC for the Giants and Steelers.




April 5, 2005: Free agent WR David Terrell signed.
Originally a #8 pick of the 2001 draft, Terrell was released at the end of training camp. He is more well known in Patriots folklore for being one of several players that Ron Borges lamented that the Pats should have drafted, rather than Richard Seymour and Matt Light.




April 5, 2012: Free agent LB Bobby Carpenter signed.
Carpenter was a first round pick by Dallas in 2006, who never quite lived up to his draft billing. Viewed as another reclamation project like Corey Dillon and Randy Moss, Carpenter was okay but not great - and released four games into the 2012 season.
 

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Today in Patriots History
Jon Morris



Happy 77th birthday to Jon Morris
Born April 5, 1942 in Washington DC
Patriot center, 1964-1974; uniform #56

Pats 4th round (29th overall) selection of the 1964 draft, from Holy Cross


Jon Morris | Patriots Hall of Fame

Jon Morris played 11 seasons for the Patriots, appearing in 130 games from 1964-74. He earned seven consecutive All-Star appearances with six AFL-All Star games (1964 through 1969) and was an AFC Pro Bowl center in 1970. His seven league All-Star selections rank second in Patriots history behind Pro Football Hall of Famer John Hannah (9). Morris was the first Patriots’ player to be selected to the NFL Pro Bowl. Morris anchored an offensive line that opened holes for Jim Nance to amass a team-record 45 rushing touchdowns from 1965-71.​



New England Patriots of the Past: Jon Morris | Last Word on Football

Morris played in all 14 games of his rookie season, and immediately became known as one of the most dominating centers in football. Morris took home the team’s Rookie of the Year award in 1964, while also winning All-AFL honors and a spot on the AFL All-Star team.​
The Holy Cross product would go on to show that he was no one-year wonder, either. Morris was selected to every AFL All-Star team from 1965-1969, being named All-AFL each year. The center was an absolute iron-man, as he never missed a game during his AFL tenure.​
The AFL merged with the NFL prior to the 1970 season, and Morris went down as one of the best players in the AFL’s history. His great play and long list of accomplishments earned him the honor of being named Second-Team, All-Time All-AFL. The First-Team selection, Oakland Raiders center Jim Otto, played four more AFL seasons than Morris.​
Much like fellow Boston Patriot Gino Cappelletti, Morris remained connected to the Patriot football scene after his retirement. Starting in 1979, Morris served as the primary color commentator for the Patriot radio games. Morris would eventually relinquish the post in 1987 after receiving a better offer with NBC Sports.​
Morris had an incredible impact with the Patriot organization, both on and off the field.​



Jon Morris Elected to Patriots Hall of Fame | CBS Boston

“It was overwhelming,” said Morris of his reaction to the call from Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “I thought my days were numbered. This announcement came as a complete surprise. I consider this the crowning achievement of my football life and I am so thankful to the Kraft family and the selection committee for allowing me to experience this feeling.”​
“I give the Krafts all the credit for making the alumni feel so special and I look forward to being a part of this year’s hall of fame ceremony,” Morris added.​





Welcome to Pats Hall, Jon Morris | Mike Reiss, espn - New England Patriots Blog

Morris' selection was made by the newly formed Senior Committee. Morris will be joined this year as an inductee by one of three yet-to-be-announced finalists.​
A member of the Patriots' 50th anniversary team, 35th anniversary team, and 1960s all-decade team, Morris was a six-time AFL all-star. He had been a finalist for induction in 2008, 2009 and 2010.​
The Senior Committee, a 10-person group consisting of some of the most tenured Patriots beat writers and staff, felt it was time that Morris' wait officially ended. The establishment of the committee was to ensure that early-era players who are deserving of induction are given that consideration.​





Jon Morris on his Induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame | Tales from the AFL

Believe it or not, Jim Otto was not the only man to play center in the American Football League! As incredible and enduring as we was (and he was both), Jim Otto garners nearly 100% of the attention when the center position is brought up in regards to the AFL. But there were other very fine centers through the league, Sam Gruneisen, Jon Gilliam and Al Bemiller, to name a few.​
From 1964-1974, Jon Morris played center for the Boston Patriots. Drafted out of Holy Cross in the second round of the 1964 AFL Draft, Morris won the Patriots’ Rookie of the Year honors in ’64, and settled in for his 11-season stay as leader of the Patriots offensive line.​
In 2011, after many near misses, Jon Morris was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame.​



Boston Patriots | Remember the AFL

Jon Morris was a sensational three sport athlete in high school and played center and linebacker for three seasons at Holy Cross College, where he was the New York Daily News' "Athlete of the Year" in 1960 and Varsity Club Athlete of the Year and Lineman of the Year in 1963.

Morris was selected All-East and All-America in his senior year, played in the College All-Star Game and captained the Senior Bowl. He was inducted into the Holy Cross Hall of Fame in 1973.

The Packers were unable to lure him as a No. 2 draft choice and the Patriots signed him as their third pick. Morris was the Patriots' team Rookie of the Year in 1964, and their Unsung Hero in 1965.

He was an American Football League All-Star six times, 1964 through 1969, and played 128 games for the Patriots (eighth best individual record in club history). Morris was named to the second team, American Football League All-Time Team.

* Note: At the time Morris actually ranked 7th in the history of the Patriots in number of games played with 130. He now ranks 36th, tied with Logan Mankins in that category.


Why '10 voting for Patriots HOF is so big | Boston.com

Do you feel, Jon Morris, it’s tougher for American Football League players to get recognition? Seems I set him off a little:​
“I had this conversation with someone the other day — I think it’s a disgrace that the all-time leading scorer in the American Football League is not in the NFL Hall of Fame,” Morris said, referencing Gino Cappelletti. “And I just wonder if that has something to do with it.”​
And that led us down another road.​
“I don’t know if any politics are involved in terms of the old AFL-NFL rivalry. I think that’s long gone, don’t you?” Morris continued. “I just think the longer you’re away from football, the easier it is to forget.​



Boston Patriots Near Forgotten Heroes Live with CTE - Neurologic Rehabilitation Institute

Several other former Patriot players have been diagnosed with CTE. Aaron Hernandez most recently, Junior Seau, Mosi Tatupu and Kevin Turner also played for the Patriots. These men or their relatives are part of the group of 5,000 retired football players involved in a class action lawsuit against the NFL.​
Other retired players from the 1970’s like Jon Morris, a former team captain and a member of the Patriots Hall of Fame, awaits the findings of baseline examinations. Morris played 11 seasons with the Patriots and snapped the ball to at least two quarterbacks, Jim Plunkett and Joe Kapp, who suffer from neurological disorders.​
Marty Schottenheimer, now 74 and a coach with an outstanding history, reports that he is struggling with Alzheimer’s. Bill Johnson, who played defensive back with Schottenheimer, lives with Alzheimer’s and has pledged his brain for research.​
The heroes of 1960’s and 70’s played football in a time when salaries were low and players relied on off-season work to make ends meet. Little was known about concussion and players were coached to lead with their heads. Concussion awareness in that era was low allowing players to be returned to the game often after a violent collision.​
Billy Johnson suffered a subdural hematoma attempting to take down Larry Csonka, a Dolphin’s running back in 1970. Johnson has no memory of the game but he participated in the next practice and played in the next game. He contemplates committing suicide as he lives with cognitive deficits and memory loss.​
John “Bull” Bramlett was known as “The Meanest Man in Football” joined the Patriots in 1969, He helped the team develop a reputation and earned much recognition for his ferocity of the field. He died at 73 from the complications of Alzheimer’s.​
Bill Lenkaitis studied dentistry in the off-seasons; joining the Patriots in 1971 he earned a spot on the Patriots All-Decade team. By his late 60’s he lost interest in his dental practice and according to his wife he was showing the signs associated with CTE. Lenkaitis died in 2016 from Glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, but the toll of concussions was showing long before that.​
Dennis Wirgowski played football in high school and college and excelled in other sports, he joined the Patriots in 1970 and was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 1973. As he aged he lost the athleticism that had marked his life and following an orthopedic injury was confined to a wheelchair. He spoke with his football friends about his increasing depression and began to collect articles about former football players who committed suicide. On January 25, 2014 he killed himself with a borrowed shotgun.​
Many of these heroes of football are now out of sight as they live with disability or have died. It is important that we understand how multiple concussions changed their lives as we look for ways to increase concussion awareness and build greater safety into the game.​




Interesting interview with Jon Morris and his wife Gail in the link above. He mentions how when he played football players had to take part time jobs in the offseason. Morris worked with a Boston food broker, which gave him enough experience to open up his own food brokerage when his football career ended. He and his wife are now retired to an impressive sounding home on a golf resort in South Carolina.


Absolutely a class guy, incredibly humble and a genuinely great ambassador for the game. I had the pleasure of chatting with him back in the day.

Unfortunately, his gratitude and exhilaration and reconciliation of his efforts and achievements with posterity is saddening that the same was denied so many of his teammates.

Mosi, Leon and Darryl died relatively young, but Antwine and Adams just makes be furious.

Everything with Kraft seems like it has to be qualified. He's probably the best owner and he has given the attention to alumni that was absent from his predecessors and the media. I mean, he didn't sue for and steal the team, like Sullivan. He didn't nefariously finagle a fortune protected from bankruptcy with his kids to be an owner, like Jerruh. His dad didn't have anybody killed, like Eddie D. Jr.

Jon is THE Pat Patriot personified.
 

captain stone

Hall of Fame Poster
Happy 27th birthday to Obi Melifonwu
Born April 5, 1994 in London
Patriot S, 2018-19; uniform #22
Signed as a free agent on November 6, 2018


Born in England, Melifonwu moved to the US at age three. He is a local guy, who went to Grafton High School and UConn. Obi was a second round draft pick by the Raiders in 2017. He only appeared in five games for Oakland, spending most of his two seasons there on injured reserve. Obi appeared in two games late in the 2018 season after signing with the Pats, getting 20 snaps on defense and 25 on special teams; he also appeared on special teams for the AFCCG versus Kansas City that postseason.

The Patriots signed Obi to the practice squad prior to week one in 2019, and he remained there until going on IR on November 16. He was re-signed to a future contract on January 6, and waived three days after the 2020 draft, on April 27. He is currently on the 49ers roster.


I wish Bill had been more patient with Obi-Fon...maybe he then doesn't feel the need to over-draft Uncle Dugg...
 

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