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July 15 in Pats History: Chris Miller; Steve Zabel; Upton Bell

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jmt57

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Staff member
July 15 is a major letdown after yesterday's birthdays - but the good news is that we are down to five days to go until the first day of training camp.


July 15, 2015:
The Patriots sign Stephen Gostkowski to a four-year contract valued at $17 million. The team had placed the franchise tag on the kicker the previous spring, and was literally down to the final day to either work out a long term contract, or go into the season with him on the franchise tag cost of $4.1 million. Gostkowski had set the franchise record for most career points scored during the week 15 victory over Miami the prior season.



July 15, 2005:
Scott Pioli is re-signed to a contract extension as Vice President of Player Personnel. Pioli had been with New England since 2000, and would stay with the Pats through 2008, when he took over as General Manager for the Kansas City Chiefs.



July 15, 2004:
Patriots sign veteran Jim Miller. The quarterback had an 11-2 record as a starter with the Bears in 2001, guiding Chicago to their first postseason in seven years. Miller suffered a shoulder injury thanks to a cheap shot from Philadelphia's Hugh Douglas early in the divisional round game, and was never quite the same after that. After the Pats 20-3 playoff victory over the Colts in the 2004 postseason, Bill Belichick specifically praised Miller - who was a healthy scratch in all 19 games that season - for his work on the scout team, emulating Peyton Manning.

On the same day the Pats also signed another quarterback, Kurt Kittner, who had been a fifth round draft pick from Illinois in 2002 by Atlanta; he didn't last long, being released on August 6.



July 15, 1993:
New England claims safety Ken Swilling off waivers from Cincinnati. The defensive back never made it in the NFL, but had been a star on Georgia Tech's undefeated 1990 national championship team.



July 15, 1982:
For some unknown reason the Patriots re-sign wide receiver Carlos Pennywell to a second, multi-year contract. The third round pick of the 1978 draft had a mere twelve receptions in his first four seasons, a stat that by comparison would make N'Keal Harry an All-Pro. He was placed on waivers on August 25, and never played in the NFL after that less than inspiring resume.


July 15, 1975:
The Patriots acquire Steve Zabel from Philadelphia, for a 1976 fourth round draft pick and a 1977 eighth round pick. The trade was one of many shrewd transactions made by Chuck Fairbanks during his time in Foxborough; Zabel would proceed to be the Pats starting outside linebacker for the next four seasons.



Steve Zabel: All-American, Entrepreneur and Inventor


July 15, 1972:
Isaac Lassiter is traded to Washington for a 1973 ninth round draft pick. The defensive end had been with the Patriots for the previous two seasons, but was slowing down due to age and injuries. Ike had spent most of his career in the AFL West with the Broncos and Raiders; he was an All Star in 1966 and unofficially led the league with 17 sacks in 1967.



July 15, 1971:
The Patriots hire Upton Bell as their general manager. At age 33 Bell - the son of former NFL commissioner Bert Bell - was the youngest GM in the league. Previously Bell had been the personnel director for the Baltimore Colts, who had just won Super Bowl 5.

Although he was not in New England very long, Bell did have some positive impact. His first act in Foxboro was to change the name of the team from the Bay State Patriots to the New England Patriots. Bell hired Bucko Kilroy and Dick Steinberg, along with several other quality scouts and front office executives. He wanted to fire John Mazur early on, but received push back from the team's board of directors. The two sides ended up agreeing that if the Patriots lost to the Colts in the final game of the '71 season that Mazur would be let go. The Pats upset Baltimore 21-17 thanks to a fourth quarter 88 yard bomb from Jim Plunkett to Randy Vataha, to finish the season 6-8. One year later the team regressed to 3-11 - and Mazur and Bell were both fired.



 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Today in Patriots History
Only 13 Days Until First Training Camp Practice Open To Fans



Happy 47th birthday to Tony Gaiter
Born July 15, 1974 in Miami
Patriot PR/KR/WR, 1997-2000; uniform #17 ('97) and #14 (2000)
Pats 6th round (192nd overall) selection of the 1997 draft, from Miami




Tony Gaiter (shouldn't he have gone to the University of Florida rather than the U with that name?) did not look like a football player, standing just 5'8 and weighing 169 pounds. He ran track and was a tailback with the Hurricanes, then switched to receiver his senior year. The Pats cut Gaiter near the end of training camp his rookie year, then signed him to the practice squad. He was activated in late November, and played in a week 14 victory over the Colts. Gaiter was again waived at the end of the 1998 camp. He was re-signed prior to a week 8 game at Miami but did not play, and was once again released.

After two seasons in San Diego he came back for a third Pats training camp in 2000 - perhaps hoping for better luck with a new head coach - but again did not survive roster cuts. His career NFL stat line reads 11.9 yards per return on 13 punts and 18.4 yards on 16 kickoff returns, all with the Chargers.


May 31, 2000:

July 8, 2000:

Aug 14, 2000:

Aug 14, 2000:

Nov 14, 2000:

Nov 16, 2000:

Aug 27, 2020:




July 15, 2015:
It turns out that Donald Trump was seriously considering buying the Patriots, but backed off after being advised it was not worth it.




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

- Tim Riordan, 61 (7/15/60); this New London native was a quarterback at Temple back when Bruce Arians was the head coach for the Owls. He was drafted by the St Louis Cardinals in '84, and was later a backup QB for the Saints. Riordan also played in the USFL for two seasons.

- John Bunting, 71 (7/15/50); was born in Portland Maine, before moving to Maryland. Bunting spent 11 seasons in the NFL as an OLB for the Philadelphia Eagles. He was also the head coach at the University of North Carolina from 2001 to 2006.
A decade later, John Bunting finds peace in his post-football life | Charlotte Observer

- Steve Bartalo, 57 (7/15/64); was also born in Maine, and also moved away as a youth - but for him it was to Colorado. The running back was a sixth round pick by Tampa Bay in '87; he spent one season with the Bucs, one with SF and two in NFL Europe.

- Dick Rauch (1893-1970); Rauch was an offensive lineman and player-coach for five seasons in the early days of the NFL - including in 1929 when the Pottsville Maroons moved and became known as the Boston Bulldogs. Their home games were played at Braves Field, later known as Nickerson Field - the same site the Patriots played their home games 30-plus years later for the first three years of their existence.
Ghosts of the Gridiron | Pottsville Maroons




Some other pro football player born on July 15 include:

- John Stallworth, 69 (7/15/52); Hall of Fame wide receiver from Alabama A&M played on four Pittsburgh Steeler championship teams.

- Alex Karras (1935-2012); the Hall of Fame defensive tackle for the Lions from 1958 to 1970 was at the wrong end of the power of the NFL commissioner in 1963, when he was suspended for a full year. Karras later became known by the next generation for being a Hollywood actor: as Mongo in Blazing Saddles, Sheriff Wallace in Porky's, Squash Bernstein in Victor Victoria, and George Papadopoulos on Webster. Alex Karras is also the great uncle to Patriot offensive lineman Ted Karras.
Hornung, Karras suspended for betting on NFL | espn

- Carnell Lake, 54 (7/15/67); the safety was named to the NFL's all-decade team for the 1990s, and was the Pittsburgh Steeler defensive backs coach from 2011-2017.

- Joe Phillips, 58 (7/15/63); DT from 1986-99; one of only 58 defensive lineman in the history of the NFL to play in at least 200 games.
The Long Strange Trip (And Odd Return) of Joe Phillips

-Sammy Winder, 62 (7/15/59); Pro Bowl RB for Denver in the eighties.
 

Pape

In the Starting Line-Up
July 15, 1972:
Isaac Lassiter is traded to Washington for a 1973 ninth round draft pick. The defensive end had been with the Patriots for the previous two seasons, but was slowing down due to age and injuries. Ike had spent most of his career in the AFL West with the Broncos and Raiders; he was an All Star in 1966 and unofficially led the league with 17 sacks in 1967.

He wasnt a big deal here, but Ike could play... if he came to New England (technically Boston at that point) instead of Oakland, he really could have been an asset to the defense... or maybe not... but those defenses needed as much as help as they could get...





and if anyone was wondering: 52 Ed Philpott 88 Ron Berger 50 Jim Cheyunski (ground) 26 Clarence Scott (rear) 57 Bull Bramlett (featured just the other day) 87 Ike Lassiter
 
Last edited:

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
He wasn't a big deal here, but Ike could play... if he came to New England (technically Boston at that point) instead of Oakland, he really could have been an asset to the defense... or maybe not... but those defenses needed as much as help as they could get...





and if anyone was wondering: 52 Ed Philpott 88 Ron Berger 50 Jim Cheyunski (ground) 26 Clarence Scott (rear) 57 Bull Bramlett (featured just the other day) 87 Ike Lassiter

I don't recall Ike standing out in Denver, but that was probably due to the Bronco teams of that time being really bad. Once he got to Oakland he was able to show his skill; that was during the stretch when the Raiders were dominating, going 13-1 (won the AFL championship before losing to Green Bay in the super bowl), 12-2 and 12-1-1 in consecutive seasons.

The Patriots certainly could have used him on defense during that time; they took a precipitous slide - from allowing 283 points in '66, to 389 in '67, and 406 in '68. Uggh.

Maybe it is just as well that he went to Oakland; at least he was able to enjoy a few winning years.
 

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