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Happy 57th birthday to the Undertaker, Vincent Brown

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jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Today in Patriots History
The Undertaker


The Pats have never played a game on January 9, but there are six former Patriot players that were born on this date.


Happy 57th birthday to Vincent Brown
Born Jan 9, 1965 in Atlanta
Patriot LB, 1988-1995; uniform #59
Pats 2nd round (43rd overall) selection of the 1988 draft, from Mississippi Valley State

Vincent Brown played in 123 games for the Patriots, missing just five games over his eight years with the Pats. He registered 811 tackles, 16.5 sacks, ten interceptions, seven fumble recoveries, six forced fumbles, and scored two touchdowns. "The Undertaker" led the Patriots in tackles five times, a genuine star player on teams that were not very deep with talent.

Since 2001 Brown has been coaching, mostly at the college level. He spent one season as a linebacker coach with the Dallas Cowboys, and has also been a position coach at the University of Virginia and Richmond, and defensive coordinator at UConn and Howard. Brown is currently the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at William & Mary.


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The columnist below doesn't hold back his opinion about the treatment Vincent Brown received from Bill Parcells and Bob Kraft:


Although the Patriots hierarchy will not confirm it, the beginning the end of Brown’s Patriot career came last Aug. 1, when team physician Bert Zarins performed arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. At Parcell’s urging, Brown was asked to stick it out for the benefit of team. Now, they are sticking it to him.​
The Patriots have not publicly stated the reason why he was released, but he had potential problems with his surgically repaired knees and was scheduled to make $2.25 million this upcoming season.​
The irony in all of this is that Brown was always behind the scale when it came to compensation. For years, he was considered by his peers to be underpaid. Because he was always the best defender on one of the worst defensive teams in the NFL, he never got chosen to appear in the Pro Bowl. Consider for a moment how much better he would have been had he played behind the likes of Bruce Smith, Howie Long or Green Bay’s Reggie White (certainly not to be confused with the Patriots Reggie White).​
 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Happy 65th birthday to Rick Sanford
Born Jan 9, 1957 in Rock Hill, South Carolina
Patriots safety, 1979-1984; uniform #25
Pats 1st round (25th overall) selection of the 1979 draft, from South Carolina

Rick Sanford did not miss a single game in his six seasons with the Patriots. The Patriots of the early eighties featured an excellent defensive secondary, with Sanford and Tim Fox at safety, and Mike Haynes and Raymond Clayborn at cornerback. Sanford had 16 interceptions, nine fumble recoveries and two touchdowns as a member of the New England Patriots.

In his post-football career Sanford worked as a chiropractor for 27 seasons, and then co-hosted an evening sports talk radio show in his native South Carolina. Unfortunately Sanford retired from broadcasting last summer after having been diagnosed with a neurocognitive disorder associated with CTE that made continuing his on-air duties all but impossible.


Why Rick Sanford is retiring at Sports Talk Show, broadcasting | The State

“I struggle with keeping my train of thought, finding the right words, and remembering how to do things,” Sanford told listeners during the 6 to 8 p.m. broadcast. “My fuse has gotten shorter and my filter has lessened. … This is a progressive condition and the time has now come for me to step away from the (microphone).


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A college All-American in 1978, Sanford made USC history in 1979 when he became the first USC player to ever be selected in the first round of the NFL draft. Sanford played for the New England Patriots and was named to the 1983 All-Pro team. The play for which he is best remembered is a 1982 interception at Chicago's Soldier Field that he returned a record 99 yards for a touchdown. In 1998, he was elected to the S.C. Athletic Hall of Fame.​
Once out of football, Sanford parlayed his sports career into a chiropractic practice, which he started in 1990.​
 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Happy 71st birthday to Dick Conn
Born Jan 9, 1951 in Louisville, Kentucky
Patriot S/ST, 1975-1979; uniform #22
Signed as a veteran free agent on Nov 26, 1975

Dick Conn played in 46 games over five seasons with the Patriots as a backup safety and special teamer. As a rookie in 1974 he earned a ring with Pittsburgh in Super Bowl IX, over the Vikings. He spent his entire post-football career as a rep for Jostens, the company that makes class rings and championship rings.


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Below are excerpts of an interview from two years ago.


UGASports: After a season with the Steelers, you start playing with New England, where you were teammates with the late Andy Johnson, just like you had been at Georgia.​
Conn: Andy and I were great friends, and we truly had a unique friendship. In 1975, the NFL reduced its rosters (from 47 to 43 players), and I got let go by Pittsburgh in the final round of cuts. I wound up going to the World League for a little bit and played with Jacksonville. (For the Jacksonville Express in 1975 of the since-defunct WFL, Conn led the team in interceptions, despite appearing in less than half the Express’ games.) I think Andy, all along while I was in Jacksonville, was talking me up to the special teams coach for the New England Patriots.​
Andy is really the reason I got a second chance at the NFL, as he talked New England into signing me. I wound up being with the Patriots for five years. You know, I’m proud to say that Andy Johnson was on the field with me for my last football game in high school (Johnson quarterbacked Athens High to a win over Lakeside in 1968—Conn’s final game in high school), my last game at Georgia (1973 Peach Bowl), and my last game in the pros (Patriots in 1979).
UGASports: What happened after your tenure with the Patriots?​
Conn: I was a free agent and was hoping to work my way back home by signing with the Atlanta Falcons. Well, I had injured my neck and couldn’t pass the physical. My brother started talking to me about Jostens, a company that produces championship rings, class rings, graduation supplies, and such. My family and I packed up and moved to Spartanburg, S.C., in 1981 so I could work for Jostens—and I’m still with them.​
 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Happy 44th birthday to Chad Johnson
Born Jan 9, 1978 in Miami
Patriot WR, 2011; uniform #85
Acquired in trade with Cincinnati on July 29, 2011 for a 2012 fifth and 2013 sixth round draft pick

From 2003 to 2207 Ochocinco was one of the best receivers in the NFL, averaging 92 receptions, 1,374 yards receiving and nine touchdowns, and was twice a first team All-Pro. Unfortunately he was past his prime (33 years old) and just didn't have the type of mind that is required to understand the Patriot offense. He caught less than half the balls thrown his way in his one season with the Patriots, totaling just 15 receptions for 276 yards and one touchdown.

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Happy 41st birthday to Cedric Cobbs
Born Jan 9, 1981 in Little Rock
Patriot RB, 2004; uniform #34
Pats 4th round (128th overall) selection of the 2004 draft, from Arkansas

Cedric Cobbs played in just three games for the Patriots, gaining 50 yards on 22 carries (2.3 ypc), with three first downs and no touchdowns. The 6', 227 pound back was released at the end of training camp in 2005. He was then signed by Denver, spending '05 on the Bronco practice squad, missing '06 with an ankle injury, and then being waived at the end of '07 training camp. Cobbs did earn a ring from Super Bowl 39 during his time with the Patriots.

In his post-NFL life Cobbs was arrested for conspiracy to obtain 180 Oxycodone pills by fraud. He faced up to four years in prison but avoided prison time after telling a federal judge that he had been receiving inpatient treatment for CTE.



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Happy 36th birthday to Jonathan Compas
Born Jan 9, 1986 in Yorba Linda, California
Patriot center, 2011 offseason; uniform #74
Signed as a free agent on August 3, 2011

The 6'3, 315 pound center from Cal-Davis was signed as an undrafted rookie by the Raiders in 2009, then was with the Tampa Bay organization for most of 2009-2010. He was released by the Pats as part of final roster cuts on Sept 2, 2011. Compas has since worked in the wholesale fuel distribution business, and now is an account executive for a commercial wire manufacturer.
 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
January 9, 1985:
The Patriots announce several hires to new head coach Raymond Berry's staff:
Bobby Grier (running backs)
Dante Scarnecchia (special teams and tight ends)
Ed Khayat (defensive line)
Don Shinnick (linebackers)
Jimmy Carr (defensive backs)
Dean Brittenham (strength and conditioning)





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

Ken McAfee, 66 (Jan 9, 1956)
Brockton High School
After leading the Boxers to the state high school football championship, McAfee became a two-time All-American at Notre Dame, and was named the 1977 Walter Camp Player of the Year. He was the 7th overall pick of the 1978 draft by San Francisco.

Dick Lucas (1934-2020)
Born and raised in Southie; South Boston High School; Boston College
Tight end played with Pittsburgh and Philadelphia from 1958-1963, winning a championship in 1960 when Norm Van Brocklin and the Eagles stunned Vince Lombardi and Bart Starr's Packers 17-13.

James Sheldon (1901-1980)
Williston Seminary (Easthampton MA); Brown University
Sheldon was an end for the 1926 Brooklyn Lions.




Some other notable players born on January 9 include:

Bart Starr (1934-2019)
Hall of Fame quarterback won five championship with the Packers, after not being drafted until the 17th round.

Marcus Peters, 29 (1993)
Despite wearing out his welcome with both the Chiefs and Rams, the now-Baltimore cornerback has been a first team All-Pro twice while compiling six pick-sixes in eight seasons.

Robert Newhouse (1950-2014)
Fullback played 14 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, winning one championship and scoring 36 touchdowns.

John Henderson, 43 (1979)
The ninth overall pick of the 2002 draft was a two-time Pro Bowl DT for Jacksonville.

Rod Smart, 45 (1977)
Trivia answer to the question 'what is the real name of the guy who wore "He Hate Me" on the nameplate of his XFL jersey'. Not surprisingly he is a cousin to former Eagle WR Freddie 'FredEx' Mitchell.
 

RobertWeathers

Author of the Port Huron Statement
Today in Patriots History
The Undertaker


The Pats have never played a game on January 9, but there are six former Patriot players that were born on this date.


Happy 57th birthday to Vincent Brown
Born Jan 9, 1965 in Atlanta
Patriot LB, 1988-1995; uniform #59
Pats 2nd round (43rd overall) selection of the 1988 draft, from Mississippi Valley State

Vincent Brown played in 123 games for the Patriots, missing just five games over his eight years with the Pats. He registered 811 tackles, 16.5 sacks, ten interceptions, seven fumble recoveries, six forced fumbles, and scored two touchdowns. "The Undertaker" led the Patriots in tackles five times, a genuine star player on teams that were not very deep with talent.

Since 2001 Brown has been coaching, mostly at the college level. He spent one season as a linebacker coach with the Dallas Cowboys, and has also been a position coach at the University of Virginia and Richmond, and defensive coordinator at UConn and Howard. Brown is currently the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator at William & Mary.


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3371-868535Bk.jpg



The columnist below doesn't hold back his opinion about the treatment Vincent Brown received from Bill Parcells and Bob Kraft:


Although the Patriots hierarchy will not confirm it, the beginning the end of Brown’s Patriot career came last Aug. 1, when team physician Bert Zarins performed arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. At Parcell’s urging, Brown was asked to stick it out for the benefit of team. Now, they are sticking it to him.​
The Patriots have not publicly stated the reason why he was released, but he had potential problems with his surgically repaired knees and was scheduled to make $2.25 million this upcoming season.​
The irony in all of this is that Brown was always behind the scale when it came to compensation. For years, he was considered by his peers to be underpaid. Because he was always the best defender on one of the worst defensive teams in the NFL, he never got chosen to appear in the Pro Bowl. Consider for a moment how much better he would have been had he played behind the likes of Bruce Smith, Howie Long or Green Bay’s Reggie White (certainly not to be confused with the Patriots Reggie White).​
Brown in his prime was on the same level if not better than Jerrod Mayo.
 

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