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August 6 in Pats History: Sam Hunt

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Staff member
Today in Patriots History
Sam Hunt

Happy 70th birthday Sam Hunt
Born August 6, 1951 in Longview, Texas
Patriot ILB, 1974-1979; uniform #50
Pats 15th round (374th overall) selection of the 1974 draft, from Stephen F Austin University

Sam Hunt started all but two games during his six years with the Patriots. He is the right inside linebacker, next to Steve Nelson, on the Patriots All-Decade Team of the 1970s.

Hunt played in 84 games for the Pats, plus two more in the playoffs. He had six fumble recoveries and seven interceptions, including one for a touchdown - that saved the 1976 Pats from what would have been an embarrassing loss.

Dec 12, 1976:
Patriots 31, Buccaneers 14 |

Ending their first National Football League season with as many victories as they began, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers achieved perfect imperfection Sunday in a 31-14 loss to the New England Patriots. It was the 14th consecutive Sunday without a victory for the Bucs, setting an NFL record for imperfection.​

But in doing so, the playing with a roster that has been changed more than 50 per cent since the season began because of injuries, gave the playoff-bound and now 11-3 Patriots a run for their pride in front of 41,517 Tampa Stadium customers.​

The Bucs led 14-7 late in the third period on Ed Williams' 17-yard touchdown run and Steve Spurrier's 27-yard scoring toss to Morris Owens, but the Patriots revived themselves in time to score 24 points and dish out a few insults along the way to victory.​

Andy Johnson's nine-yard run with 4:59 left in the third period tied the score at 14. Then linebacker Sam Hunt, who wasn't supposed to play because of a pulled hamstring, intercepted a Spurrier pass and returned it 68 for a touchdown with 6: 15 to play in the fourth period to boost New England into a 21-14 lead.​

John Smith's 30-yard field goal made it 24-14 with 2:41 to play and the Patriots twisted the knife when they called time out with six seconds to play so quarterback Steve Grogan could score from a yard out. Grogan's touchdown run gives him 12 for the season, breaking the previous NFL mark for most touchdowns rushing in a season by a quarterback held by Tobin Rote and Johnny Lujack. On top of that, the Patriots allowed linebacker Steve Zabel, who fancies himself a place-kicker but did no kicking all year, to kick the extra point.​

But there were no complaints about the last-second touchdown from Bucs' Head Coach John McKay, who out his first season in the NFL without a victory: "That doesn't bother me," 'an unusually perturbed McKay 'said after the game.​

New England Coach Chuck Fairbanks apologized to McKay at midfield when it was over. McKay's mood was more a result of his own team's imperfection when it could have had the game safely in hand by halftime. Twice in the first half the Bucs put together long drives and were less than 10 yards from scoring when fumbles stopped them without a point.​

That the Bucs' defense, hit hardest by the injury epidemic, could hold the Patriots' offense to only seven points for the better part of three periods, was a major accomplishment. That score was a 69-yard touchdown run by Johnson in the second period. Johnson gained 127 yards on 14 carries and scored twice for the Patriots, who used fullback Sam Cunningham sparingly because of a bruised shoulder.​

The Patriots, as the American Football Conference wild-card team, travel to Oakland next week for the first round of the playoffs against the Raiders. New England's 11-3 record a complete reversal of last year's 3-13 mark. Should the Bucs be able to pull such a reversal next season, they would be 14-0. But right now, one win would be an improvement. Says McKay, "I think I'll take some time off and go hide somewhere"'[/INDENT]

Sept 5, 2004: Catching up with Sam Cunningham |

Answer: Sam Hunt

From page 20 of the 1979 New England Patriots Media Guide:

"Big Backer" continued to surprise NFL observers this past season with his ability to move his large frame swiftly against opponents' ground attacks . . . contributed 60 tackles as a dominant factor in Patriots run defense and on several occasions ran down Earl Campbell from behind on sweep plays in the two 1978 meetings between the Patriots and Oilers . . . his 56 tackles in 1977 and great inside teamwork with Steve Nelson was a key factor in the team's number one ranking among AFC run defenses that year . . . his 68 yard interception return versus Tampa was the NFL's third longest of the year and a highlight of his great 1976 season . . . second leading tackler on the Pats in 1975 with 99 stops and tops among the club's inside linebackers in 1974 with 74 tackles . . . was the major surprise of the 1974 draft, stepping into a starting role in the new 3-4 alignment and then gaining All-Rookie Team with Pro Football Weekly and Football Digest . . . also named Rookie of the Year by the 1776 Fan Club . . . four year starter in college and was team co-captain as a senior . . . averaged ten tackles a game in each of his 35 collegiate contests . . . is an avid fisherman

Nov 23, 2001:

April, 2015:
The Ultimate Player Draft: A Look at Their Player Selection by Range |


Staff member
Today in Patriots History
A Half Dozen More Birthdays, and a Trade

Happy 68th birthday Steve Burks
Born August 6, 1953 in Little Rock, Arkansas
Patriot WR, 1975-1977; uniform #82
Pats 4th round (91st overall) selection of the 1975 draft, from Arkansas State

Steve Burks played in 34 NFL games (all with the Pats), primarily on special teams. A versatile all around athlete, the 6'5 wide receiver had 13 receptions for 264 yards, plus four kick returns. His pro football career appears to have been derailed due to a 1976 training camp knee injury, which in those days was not uncommon to never fully recover from.


Steve Burks grew up in Cabot and is a 1971 graduate of Cabot High School. At an early age it became obvious that Mr. Burks was a gifted athlete. Not only was Mr. Burks gifted with athleticism, his brother, Reagan, was an Arkansas Razorback under Frank Broyles.​

Cabot was a recruiting stop for most of the top college coaches in America. During Mr. Burks’ senior year he won the state decathlon breaking the record that held for many years. Mr. Burks was the Arkansas Democrat Athlete of the Year and was the 1970’s version of the former Razorback, Matt Jones. Mr. Burks was three years all county in basketball, all state and all star in football, all state and all star in baseball and was drafted by the New York Yankees.​

Mr. Burks spent his collegiate years at Arkansas State as a quarterback. He tied the all time touchdown record in a single game with seven touchdowns and is still the all time ASU scoring leader. Steve was drafted by the New England Patriots and played three years as a wide receiver.​

From page 10 of the 1977 New England Patriots Media Guide:

All-America and all-state at Cabot (Ark.) High . . . won state decathlon and lettered in three sports . . . one of the best offensive players ever to play at ASU . . . played four different positions during varsity career (QB, punter, WR, RB) . . . rushed for 1351 yards on 347 attempts (3.9 avg.) and scored 26 TDs in four-year career . . . punted for last three years (145 punts, 5653 yds., 39.0 avg.) . . . caught 29 passes for 552 yards (19.0 avg.), 4 TDs . . . also team's leading passer last two seasons completing 61 of 134 (45.5 avg.) for 698 yards, 4 TDs, 7 interceptions . . . all-conference punter in 1972 . . . set Southland Conference scoring records in 1973 for one game (42 points on 7 TDs against Abilene Christian) and season (110 pts.) . . . in rookie year played 13 games as WR and special teams man, also caught longest pass of the season with 76-yarder against Dallas . . . in 1976 he was hottest receiver in training camp until knee injury interfered . . . forced him to miss six games, first five of the season.

Happy 27th birthday Eric Lee
Born August 6, 1994 in Panama City, Florida
Patriot LB, 2017; uniform #55
Signed off the Bills practice squad on November 21, 2017

Eric Lee spent 2016 and 2017 on the practice squad for Houston and Buffalo. He was signed off the Bills practice squad to replace Cassius Marsh, who was not working out (and still whines about the Pats to this day). Lee made an immediate impact as an upgrade over Marsh, with eight tackles, one interception, 2.5 sacks, and a pass deflection in his first two games.

The Patriots waived Lee at the end of 2018 training camp and he signed with Detroit, reuniting with Matt Patricia. The Lions released Eric during the 2019 season, and he was re-signed by the Patriots to their practice squad in December. Lee was out of football last year and is currently a free agent.

Eric Lee Highlights - at Buffalo 12/03/2017 (1:25)

Dec 3, 2017:

Dec 15, 2017:

Happy birthday Ray Lucas
Born August 6, 1972 in Harrison, New Jersey
Patriot QB, 1996; uniform #15
Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 6, 1996

Ray Lucas is the first of more than a dozen players from Rutgers to have played for the Patriots. As a member of the Scarlet Knights he passed for 5,896 yards, averaging 6.5 yards per attempt, with 43 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. Lucas appeared in only two games (on special teams) for the Pats, with no stats. The running quarterback was one of many players that followed Bill Parcells out of Foxboro to sign with the Jets. He had one successful season, going 6-3 as the starter while completing over 59% of his passes, with 14 TD and 7 INT in 1999 as a sub after Vinny Testaverde was injured.

Interesting article on Lucas here:
Ray Lucas - My Life of Dad

His professional football career, however, came to a sudden end at age 30, when a neck injury caused him to collapse on the sideline during training camp. Instructed by NFL doctors that surgery wasn’t an option, Lucas turned to painkillers for relief, but as his tolerance for medication escalated and his NFL insurance coverage expired, he began to plan his suicide.​
. . .​
TR: Do you remember your first official game? What was that experience like for you?​
RL: It was in Green Bay. I was on kickoff coverage. I ran into the wedge and I didn’t know where the hell I was. I actually got into Green Bay’s huddle after I got up off the ground.​
. . .​
AE: Reading the forward by Bill Parcells it seems that he wanted thought very highly of you. For someone with Bill’s influence and respect in the NFL did you feel that having him on your side helped open up some doors during your time in the league?​
RL: First things first. With Coach Parcells, he is a Jersey boy. I am a Jersey boy. There is an unwritten rule that you have to take care of each other. It took me a long time to become a Parcells guy. You have to show him that you have no fear. You have to show him that you are willing do to whatever it takes to be successful.​
People always ask me, how do you become a Parcells guy? The only way that I can explain it is that he will take you to a cliff. He will make you hang off and then step on one of your hands. If you hold on, he will pick you up and put you behind him.​

Happy 56th birthday Brian Kinchen
Born August 6, 1965 in Baton Rouge
Patriot LS, 2003; uniform #46
Signed as a free agent on December 16, 2003

Brian Kinchen played tight end for the Dolphins, Browns/Ravens and Panthers from 1988-2000. He also became a long snapper after joining Carolina in 1999. In 2003 he came out of retirement at the age of 38 to reunite with Bill Belichick when the Pats needed a LS late in the season, after Lonie Paxton and Sean McDermott were both sidelined with injuries. In a bit of forgotten trivia it was actually Kinchen, not Paxton, who snapped the ball on the Adam Vinatieri field goal that won Super Bowl 38 over Kinchen's former team, Carolina.

Must-read article here:
Feb 3, 2017:

Six hours before kickoff, Kinchen took a seat for pregame meal, across from special teams ace Larry Izzo and linebacker Mike Vrabel. He picked up a roll to start off. It felt cold and hard, too difficult to slice with a butter knife. He grabbed his steak knife instead.​

Kinchen had misjudged. His knife slid right through the roll in one swipe—and straight through to the bone on his right index finger, his throwing hand. Vrabel and Izzo laughed out loud. Our only long snapper. And that’s the most important finger on his hand!​

Further down the table, Walter was not the least bit amused. “At that point I gave up on it,” he says. “That was it, I can’t deal with this.”​

Blood spilled out as Kinchen kept clutching the roll. “I was in as much disbelief as when I threw the bad snaps,” Kinchen says. “All I’m thinking is, What is Belichick going to say when he hears this? After all this crud I’ve been doing all week, how is he going to react to this?” Kinchen would eventually need three stitches to close the cut, but it had to wait until after the game. He'd play with butterfly sutures under his glove.​

On the extra point after New England’s second touchdown, his snap bounced two yards in front of Walter. The holder saved it and the kick went through.​

Oct 12, 2007:

Happy 28th birthday Donte Montcrief
Born August 6, 1993 in Raleigh, Mississippi
Patriot WR/KR, 2020; uniform #14
Signed as a free agent on November 4, 2020

Nov 4, 2020:

Nov 29, 2020:

Donte Moncrief 53-Yard Kickoff Return | Patriots vs Cardinals (0:42)

Dec 5, 2020:

Dec 19, 2020:

Happy 33rd birthday Kevin Hughes
Born August 6, 1965 in New Orleans
Patriot OT, 2015 offseason
Signed as a free agent on May 11, 2015

Hughes was signed as a rookie UDFA by the Rams in 2011. He bounced between the offseason and practice squad rosters of the Rams, Chargers, Packers, and Panthers for four years after appearing in three games for St Louis in 2011. The Pats signed him soon after the 2015 NFL draft; he was waived/injured early in training camp and never again played in the NFL.

Happy 42nd birthday Seth Wand
3rd round (75th overall) selection of the 2003 draft

April 26, 2003: The Patriots traded the draft pick that would be used on Wand (3.75), along with the Pats 2003 2nd round pick (41st overall, Bennie Joppru) to the Houston Texans in exchange for Houston's 2003 2nd round pick (36th overall, Eugene Wilson) and 2003 4th round pick (117th overall, Dan Klecko).

Wand started 18 games over a five-year career with three different teams. Joppru was a tight end whose only NFL stats were a few special teams tackles, and played in only one game for the Texans.

Yes, the Patriots won that trade.


Staff member
Today in Patriots History
RIP, Dick Rehbein

August 6, 2001:
Patriots QB coach Dick Rehbein passes away due to a heart condition at the age of 45. He is most well known for being the primary staff member to lobby for the Pats to draft Tom Brady.

Other pro football players born on this date with New England connections:

Brendan McCarthy (8/6/45-8/26/97)
Born in Boston; Boston College, class of '68
Running back for the Falcons and Broncos was originally a 4th round pick by Green Bay in 1968.

Diamond Ferri, 40 (8/6/81)
Born in Stoneham; Everett High School, class of '99
Safety played briefly with the Arizona Cardinals 15 years ago.

Some other pro football players sharing this birth date:

Ken Riley, 74 (8/6/47)
Pro Bowl CB started 201 games for the Bengals from 1969-1983, recording 65 interceptions.

Ed Husmann (1931-2018)
The three-time AFL All-Star DT with the Houston Oilers played in 142 games from 1953 to 1965.

Bruce Van Dyke, 77 (8/6/44)
The guard played in 128 games from 1966-76, mostly with the Steelers.

Kareem Hunt, 26 (8/6/95)
Good running back; bad human being.

Mike Frederick, 49 (8/6/72)
Frederick was part of a lopsided trade between the 49ers and Browns. In 1995 San Francisco sent their first round pick (30th overall), 4th rounder (119th overall) and their 1996 first round pick all to Cleveland in order to move up to the 10th overall pick of the draft.

San Francisco used that selection on WR J.J. Stokes who had a good but not great career (though he did pick up a ring after appearing in two 2003 games with the Pats).

Initially Cleveland (ie, Bill Belichick and Ozzie Newsome) looked as though they lost out in the trade. The first round pick was LB Craig Powell; he played in only three games as a rookie and was a draft bust, appearing in just 14 NFL games with zero starts over his career. The third round pick was Frederick, who was a backup DE as a rookie and started only 12 games over a five year career.

The final draft pick, that 2006 first rounder was used a year later after the Browns became the Baltimore Ravens: Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis.

Not only that, but let's never forget: RLKAG