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July 18 in Pats History: Deion Branch

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jmt57

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Today in Patriots History
Deion Branch


Happy 42nd birthday to Deion Branch
Born July 18, 1979 in Albany Georgia
Patriot WR, 2002-2005; uniform #83
Patriot WR, 2010-2012; uniform #84

Pats 2nd round (65th overall) selection of the 2002 draft, from Louisville




Franchise Stats and Rankings:
  • 328 receptions ranks 10th in franchise history
  • 4,297 yards receiving (11th)
  • 24 touchdown receptions (13th)
  • 13.1 yards per reception ranks 10th [minimum 200 catches]
  • 30 points in 14 playoff games (10-4 record)
  • Super Bowl 38 champion
  • Super Bowl 39 champion
  • Super Bowl 39 MVP
Career Stats:
  • 518 receptions for 6,644 yards and 39 TD
  • 64 playoff receptions for 948 yards, 4 TD
  • 3 playoff rushes for 41 yards, 1 TD
  • Albany GA Sports Hall of Fame, 2005
  • Kentucky Sports Hall of Fame, 2005











Best of Deion Branch | Career Highlights


Every Deion Branch Touchdown | Deion Branch Highlights
 

jmt57

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Today In Patriots History
His Parents Named Him What?!


Happy 79th birthday to Dick Shiner
Born July 18, 1942 in Lebanon, Pennsylvania
Patriot QB, 1973-1974; uniform #11
Claimed off waivers from Atlanta on October 18, 1973


Richard Earl 'Dick' Shiner was a legend for one game while at the University of Maryland. The quarterback led the Terrapins to an upset over Joe Paterno and Penn State, in what would be the one and only Maryland victory over the Nittany Lions during a one-sided series between the two schools that ran from 1960 through 1993.

As a pro football player Shiner was mostly a career backup, on the bench behind Sonny Jurgensen, Frank Ryan, Fran Tarkenton and Jim Plunkett. His only time as a starter included Chuck Noll's first season in 1969 as head coach for the Steelers. Pittsburgh went 1-13 that year, with Shiner 3-16-1 over two seasons as the starting QB - though to be fair, that record was primarily due to a porous defense.

In 1973 the NFL implemented the Passer Rating statistic, which is still utilized today. Shiner had the honor being the first quarterback to record a perfect passer rating when he went 13 for 15 with three touchdowns in week one of that season for Atlanta, against the Saints. Ironically he also become the first player to have an imperfect 0.0 passer rating the very next week, going 2-9 for 17 yards, with no touchdowns and one interception.

Dick Shiner's final NFL game is also noteworthy. Jim Plunkett had thrown three touchdowns, and the Pats were beating the Baltimore Colts 35-3 while the game was still only in the third quarter. Shiner took over, and led the Patriots on an 80-yard drive. He then surprised everyone by taking himself out of the game. Shiner later explained:

"I wanted [third-string QB] Neil Graff to get experience. Neil was a good kid, and I knew my time in the NFL was coming to an end."




In his post-football career Shiner worked for a beer distributor, and then retired after having spent twenty years in the copier business. He later passed time as an assistant high school football coach.



But in 1959 along came one Lee Corso, an assistant coach for Tom Nugent at Maryland and a man on the young end of a career that would lead to collegiate head coaching jobs and his present work as a college football analyst on national television.​
"Coach Corso had come up to Pennsylvania to look at some great running back on a team we were playing," Shiner said. "I come from a town (Lebanon, Pa.) that in the late 1950s numbered, maybe, 12,000 people, and 10,000 of them would show up on Friday night for the high school football game.​
"And coach Corso was in the crowd and when he got there, he maybe didn't know who I was. But I threw four touchdown passes that night.​
"He came to my school a few days later to talk to me. Coaches didn't do that as much as they do now, and that impressed me. That's how I wound up at Maryland."​


Catching up with ... former Terp QB Dick Shiner | Baltimore Sun

Against Air Force, a national power in 1963, Shiner led a comeback that rocked College Park. Trailing 14-0 at halftime, Maryland won the game on a 36-yard pass from Shiner to Darryl Hill as time expired.​
The crowd of 31,000 went nuts.​
"See, we were 0-4 and Air Force had just beaten Nebraska," which would win the Orange Bowl that year, Shiner said. "So when I hit Darryl with a bullet on a deep cross, and he hit the end zone, the whole place exploded. They had to clear all of the fans off the field for us to kick the extra point."​
To celebrate, he said, "we all went to Howard Johnson's, on Route 1, where they served hot dogs on toasted buns. They were great."​


Maryland's Dick Shiner: A legend in his first start is a legend once again | CSTV

He starred as a throwing quarterback in an era when many head coaches still subscribed to the old theory that two of three things that can happen to a forward pass are bad. "We were throwing the ball 20, 22 times a game, sometimes a few more," Shiner said. "You'd look in the paper on Sunday morning and you'd read that some other ACC team was 4-for-7 passing. We were conservative compared to today's offenses, but we threw the ball a lot for the time."​
Like all those people who show up at Steve Smear's office, Shiner still treasures the victory over Penn State in his first collegiate start. But the memories of a handful of other games remain precious to the man who went on to spend 11 seasons in the National Football League. Among them is a victory over one of Syracuse's legendary teams.​
"It was a great Syracuse team," Shiner said. "The great Ernie Davis was on that team along with a lot of other great players, players like John Mackey, Art Baker at fullback, Roger Brown.​
"Through the first two games, against a really good SMU team and Clemson, I'd been running with the second team and Coach Nugent would put us in for a quarter or two. Then the Syracuse game came up and they were one of the national powerhouses. They were ranked in the Top 10 (seventh).​
"Coach Nugent called those of us on the second team the `Go' team and against Syracuse he sent the `Go' team in in the third quarter. I ran 29 yards, which is an awfully long way for me, and we scored a touchdown and beat that great Syracuse team (22-21)."​






 

Mike the Brit

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Dick Shiner's final NFL game is also noteworthy. Jim Plunkett had thrown three touchdowns, and the Pats were beating the Baltimore Colts 35-3 while the game was still only in the third quarter. Shiner took over, and led the Patriots on an 80-yard drive. He then surprised everyone by taking himself out of the game. Shiner later explained:

"I wanted [third-string QB] Neil Graff to get experience. Neil was a good kid, and I knew my time in the NFL was coming to an end."

Thank you! I had never even heard of Mr Shiner (yes! to your headline) but that is a great story. Happy birthday, sir.
 

jmt57

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Staff member
Today In Patriots History
July 18 Transactions


July 18, 2014:

July 18, 2012:
New England signs first round pick Dont'a Hightower to a four year contract through 2015, with an option for 2016.

July 18, 2000:
OT Ed Ellis is released. The Connecticut native was used sparingly (eight games, one start) since being drafted by the Pats in the fourth round of the 1997 draft out of Buffalo. He spent the next four seasons with Washington and San Diego, appearing in 54 NFL games from 1997 to 2003.

July 18, 1998:
The Patriots re-sign exclusive rights free agent Lovett Purnell to a one year deal. 1998 would be the third and final year in New England for the tight end from West Virginia; he finished the season with 12 receptions and two touchdowns.

July 18, 1996:
Dwayne Sabb begins training camp on the Non Football Injury List, due to a stress fracture in his right leg. The linebacker was activated a week later and played in all 16 games for Bill Parcells that season. After five seasons with the Pats the UNH grad played four more in the arena league.

On the same date the Pats signed four rookies to contracts: sixth round pick Devin Wyman, fourth round picks Heath Irwin and Kantroy Barber, and third round pick Tedy Bruschi.

July 18, 1995:
The Patriots sign a pair of draft picks to rookie contracts: second rounder Ted Johnson and third rounder Curtis Martin.

July 18, 1994:
Joe Burch is placed on the NFI list. The center was a third round pick out of Texas Southern and would be waived at the end of training camp; that draft pick was one of two received from Miami in the trade that sent Irving Fryar to the Dolphins. Burch spent his rookie season on Denver's practice squad, was cut by Minnesota the following summer, and never played a down in the NFL - but did play in the Arena Football League from 1996 to 2005.

July 18, 1993:
New England signs free agent Greg Meisner, a nose tackle who had played in 135 games for the Rams, Chiefs and Giants from 1981-91. But at age 33 - and 16 concussions - Meisner was done, and retired after being released after the end of preseason.
"You Get This mentality... That You Don't Get Injuries"
On the same date the Pats re-signed offensive lineman David Viaene (see July 14 entry for more on him) and fourth round draft pick Scott Zolak.

July 18, 1988:
The Patriots waive backup RB Robert Weathers, who had spent the previous five seasons with the team. In other moves the Pats waived linebacker Randy Sealby, signed fourth round pick Sammy Martin - and then placed the wide receiver on NFI.

July 18, 1986:
The Pats re-sign CB Ronnie Lippett; '86 would be the fourth year of his eight season career in Foxborough. The team also signed eighth round pick Greg Baty, who went on to have a nine year NFL career.

July 18, 1977:
First round pick Raymond Clayborn is signed to a contract. The club also added two players off waivers, neither of whom made the 1977 roster. OL Jim Pietrzak was a sixth round pick by the Giants in 1974; he did spend eight more seasons in the NFL with the Broncos, Giants and Saints. DE Joe Owens had played for the Chargers, Saints and Oilers from 1970 to 1976; New England was the final stop of his pro football career.

July 18, 1976:
Craig Hanneman (see July 1 entry) is cut. The defensive lineman had played two seasons for the Patriots after having been acquired in 1974 from Pittsburgh, for a ninth round draft pick.

July 18, 1973:
The Patriots re-signed CB John Outlaw, FB Josh Ashton and LB Ron Acks, as well as free agent linebackers John Tanner and Ken Lee. In addition the team announced that guard Willie Banks would be out indefinitely after suffering a fractured right leg; he would be placed on injured reserve and miss the entire season.

July 18, 1963:
The San Diego Chagers trade defensive tackle Bill Hudson to the Patriots for a 1964 fifth round draft pick. Hudson had been an American Football League all star in 1961, but lasted just four games with the Pats before being released.

Great story on his life and his family in this obituary:
 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Today In Patriots History
Stephen Spach


Happy 39th birthday to Stephen Spach
Born July 18, 1982 in Fresno, CA
Patriot TE, 2007-2008; uniform #82
Signed as a free agent on December 13, 2007

Stephen Spach was originally signed by Philadelphia in 2005, and was out of football in 2006. The Pats signed him in week 15 of the 2007 season when Mike Wright was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury. Spach played in the last three games of the regular season as well as the AFCCG versus San Diego, as a blocking tight end and special teamer.

Spach was cut at the end of training camp in 2008, immediately re-signed, then cut for good after two games. He was waived on September 15 when the Pats added Kyle Eckel to the roster. Spach moved on to Arizona at that point, playing in 31 games with 22 starts from '08-'10. From 2005 to 2012 Stephen Spach played in 60 NFL games, with 22 receptions for 137 yards.




This column is a fairly decent read:


Transitioning into a different career path can be a scary and life-changing process. For 2005 Recreation Administration alumnus, Stephen Spach, leaving the National Football League for a career in finance was a gamble, but one that proved to be worth the risk.​



Stephen grew up in Clovis, CA and graduated from Fresno State in 2005 where he played tight end for the Bulldogs. He then spent time with six different NFL teams from 2005-2012. He had the opportunity to be a part of an AFC Championship New England Patriots team in 2007, and an NFC Championship Arizona Cardinals team in 2008. His hobbies and interests outside of work include sports, health, music and most importantly, his family.​
 

50-yard-line

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
These threads are the best! Thanks.

I met Branch (and his sister) after SB39. She sat with us we grabbed the table right below the stage for the Black-eyed Peas) and called him over to the table to hang out. Wonderful folks, both.

He was humble and grateful and friendly (I'm pretty sure he was in a good mood, ya know?).
 

Pape

In the Starting Line-Up
Today In Patriots History
Stephen Spach


Happy 39th birthday to Stephen Spach
Born July 18, 1982 in Fresno, CA
Patriot TE, 2007-2008; uniform #82
Signed as a free agent on December 13, 2007

Stephen Spach was originally signed by Philadelphia in 2005, and was out of football in 2006. The Pats signed him in week 15 of the 2007 season when Mike Wright was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury. Spach played in the last three games of the regular season as well as the AFCCG versus San Diego, as a blocking tight end and special teamer.

Spach was cut at the end of training camp in 2008, immediately re-signed, then cut for good after two games. He was waived on September 15 when the Pats added Kyle Eckel to the roster. Spach moved on to Arizona at that point, playing in 31 games with 22 starts from '08-'10. From 2005 to 2012 Stephen Spach played in 60 NFL games, with 22 receptions for 137 yards.




This column is a fairly decent read:


Transitioning into a different career path can be a scary and life-changing process. For 2005 Recreation Administration alumnus, Stephen Spach, leaving the National Football League for a career in finance was a gamble, but one that proved to be worth the risk.​



Stephen grew up in Clovis, CA and graduated from Fresno State in 2005 where he played tight end for the Bulldogs. He then spent time with six different NFL teams from 2005-2012. He had the opportunity to be a part of an AFC Championship New England Patriots team in 2007, and an NFC Championship Arizona Cardinals team in 2008. His hobbies and interests outside of work include sports, health, music and most importantly, his family.​
Star Trek Wow GIF
 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Today In Patriots History
More July 18 Trivialities


Happy birthday to Bruce Walker, who would have been 49 today
Born July 18, 1972 in Compton, CA
Patriot NT, 1994-1995; uniform #91
Signed as a free agent November 22, 1994
Died November 7, 2014 at the age of 42




Aug 17, 1993:

Bruce Walker, a UCLA nose guard, was suspended for a year, and linebacker Jamir Miller must skip the Bruins' season-opener Sept. 4 against California because of recent criminal problems, school officials announced Monday.​
Walker, who has one year of eligibility remaining, will be allowed to redshirt and return for the 1994 football season if he stays out of trouble, UCLA Coach Terry Donahue said. Miller, who led the team in sacks last season and tied for the lead in 1991, is expected to begin practicing today.​
Walker was sentenced to three years of probation and 100 hours of community service last week in Superior Court in Santa Monica after pleading no contest to one felony count of receiving stolen property.​
Miller, Walker and Raul Martinez, a UCLA student, were arrested last April and charged with possession of $15,000 worth of stereo and computer equipment that was stolen from a UCLA dormitory last winter.​


Bruce Walker was a second round draft pick by Philadelphia in 1994, but was cut at the end of his rookie training camp. He was with the Pats for 11 games the following year, starting five games and finishing the season with 18 tackles (16 solo).



Bruce Walker, DT, UCLA, 2nd round, 1994​
Here's an idea: Use the 37th pick in the draft on a disinterested, out-of-shape defensive tackle with multiple arrests on his record. Walker was suspended from the UCLA football team in January of 1993 after an arrest on misdemeanor weapons charges. He was reinstated on April 6, then suspended again 12 DAYS LATER after an arrest on felony charges after police found $13,000 in stolen property in his apartment. The Eagles saw that and said, ‘That's our guy!" Walker didn't even make it to opening day his rookie year.​


July 17, 1996:

Bruce Walker, a defensive lineman for the New England Patriots, incurred a stab wound in his chest while he and a friend were throwing a steak knife at each other in a grocery store parking lot.​
Police said that Walker, who played at UCLA, suffered the wound when he missed a catch. He was treated at Southwood Community Hospital in Norfolk and required several stitches, police said.​


Not surprisingly, Walker did not make the roster following the mysterious knife throwing injury. He then spent two years playing for Frankfort in the World League, including in their 1998 championship season. Walker was part of the San Diego Charger organization for the next two years, but never got on the field due to injuries.




July 18, 2016:




Other pro football players born on this date with New England connections:
- John Wetzel, 30 (b 1991; Boston College class of 2013)
The offensive tackle has played in 46 games with 24 starts for the Arizona Cardinals.
John Wetzel: 5 Things You Need to Know About the Boston College OT

- Mike Pyle (1939-2015; Yale class of 1961)
The nine-year starting center for Chicago missed just five games while playing from 1961 to 1969. After his retirement Pyle did pre and post game radio shows for the Bears. He is the great uncle of Charger defensive end Joey Bosa, and has four more relatives that have played in the NFL.




Some notable pro football players born on this date:
- Jerome Barkum, 71 (1950); the tight end had 40 touchdowns with the Jets from 1972-83.

- George Starke, 73 (1948); Washington's starting right tackle from 1973-84; he and Sid Luckman share the longest career (12 seasons) of any player from Columbia.

- Terry Taylor, 60 (1961); CB had 25 interceptions over twelve seasons with Seattle, Detroit, Cleveland and Atlanta from 1984-1995.

- Lonnie Young, 58 (1963); FS played in 147 games from 1985-96 for the Cardinals, Jets and Chargers.

- Jeff Lageman, 54 (1967); a first round pick in 1989, the DE played in 122 games for the Jets and Jags from 1989-98.

- Dan Edwards (1926-2001); the all-pro end had 234 receptions and 16 touchdowns from 1948-1954.

- Ray Ramsey (1921-2009); as a rookie with the Chicago Rockets in 1947 he scored ten touchdowns, leading the AAFC in yards per catch (21.9) and yards per touch (11.4).

- Bernard Williams, 49 (1972); the 14th overall pick of the 1994 draft played for only one season in the NFL. An off season incident led to a disorderly conduct arrest, and a couple weeks later a failed drug test resulted in a six game suspension for marijuana. He didn't bother to fulfill any of the requirements for reinstatement, and instead spent the next seven years in the CFL, XFL and Arena League.
 

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