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July 2 in Pats History: Troy Brown turns the big 5-0

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Sep 19th

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Staff member
Today in Patriots History
Troy Brown

Happy 50th birthday to Troy Brown
Born July 2, 1971 in Barnwell, South Carolina
Patriot WR/PR/KR/DB, 1993-2007
Uniform #80 (and #86 in 1994)

Pats 8th round (198th overall) selection of the 1993 draft, from Marshall

After initially being cut at the end of his rookie training camp, thankfully no other NFL team bothered to check in on "Bingo". Bill Parcells re-signed the versatile Troy Brown in mid-October, and the rest is history.

Brown has so many iconic and legendary plays they are too numerous to remember and list all of them. A few that come to mind though are his crucial 23 yard catch and run on the final drive of Super Bowl 36; his play in the previous game, the AFCCG at Pittsburgh when he returned a punt for a 55 yard touchdown and followed that up by picking up a blocked field goal attempt, and alertly lateraled to Antwan Harris for a TD; on a sweltering hot and humid day in south Florida catching a sideline pass and racing for an 82-yard overtime touchdown, ending a 13 game losing streak at Miami; or being called upon to play defense in mid season - and finishing second on the team with three interceptions.

Troy Brown celebrating the iconic punt return touchdown with Antwan Harris in the 2001 AFCCG versus Pittsburgh.

A walk off (sprint off?) humidity buster that left the locals speechless in Miami (while their stadium sounded like a Pats home game).

Rather than go on, I highly recommend taking a few minutes to check this piece on number 80's career. Along with a lengthy resume of impressive statistics there are some great quotes from Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft. Bingo indeed...

Touchdowns on blocked field goal, punt return stop Steelers' run to Super Bowl | Pittsburgh Gazette

Troy Brown, the all-time leading receiver for the New England Patriots, has retired after 15 years in the NFL.​

He owns New England records for receptions (557), punt returns (252) and punt return yardage (2,625). Brown spent his entire career with the Patriots.​

Known for his versatility, Brown filled in at defensive back for the Patriots in 2004 and is the only New England player to have both a reception and interception in the same game.​

He was selected to the Pro Bowl after the 2001 season in which he amassed 1,119 receiving yards on 101 catches.​



Staff member
Today in Patriots History
Law Firm

On many other dates BJGE would be the headliner, but he just happened to share a birthday with Troy Brown.

Happy 36th birthday to BenJarvus Green-Ellis
Born July 2, 1985 in New Orleans
Patriot RB, 2008-2011; uniform #42
Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 1, 2008

Benjarvus Jeremy Green-Ellis was signed as an undrafted rookie out of Ole Miss, where he was only the second running back in school history with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. With Laurence Maroney injured, BJGE became the team's third RB behind Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk his rookie season, rushing for five touchdowns. The next year he was reverted to being used primarily on special teams, getting just 28 touches in 12 games. Then in 2010 Maroney was traded, and after Fred Taylor and Faulk were both injured BJGE became the starting running back by default. He rose to the occasion, rushing for 1,008 yards and 13 touchdowns, while averaging 4.4 yards per carry. But in 2011 the Pats drafted both Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen relatively early, and it was clear Green-Ellis' days in Foxborough were numbered. Splitting playing time with the two rookies as well as Danny Woodhead, BJGE was still counted on near the goal line; he rushed for 11 touchdowns while gaining 826 yards from scrimmage.

The Law Firm was well known for his ability to hang on to the ball, not losing a single fumble in the NFL until after he signed with Cincinnati - an amazing streak of 589 touches without a turnover. He started 31 games over two seasons with the Bengals, with 2013 being his final NFL season. BJGE rushed for 29 touchdowns in 53 games with the Patriots, which still ranks as the eighth most in franchise history, and had 2,064 yards rushing with the Pats (17th at the time, 20th now). In addition he had 183 yards on 47 carries and one touchdown in four playoff games with the Pats. For his NFL career BJGE totaled 4,332 yards from scrimmage with 42 touchdowns.


Tunescribe Supporter Supporter
2019 Weekly Picks Winner
I don't know why, but the thought of Troy Brown being 50 freaking years old seems funny to me.

I remember him being on and off the roster under Tuna. Also remember him making one of the greatest catches I've ever seen: he was downfield, fell flat on his back and while laying there caught a rocket from Bledsoe. Great competitor.


Staff member
Today in Patriots History
Rex Burkhead and more July 2 stuff

Happy 31st birthday to Rex Burkhead
Born July 2, 1990 in Plano, Texas
Patriot RB, 2017- ; uniform #34
Signed as an unrestricted free agent on March 14, 2017

After four seasons in Cincinnati, the 5-10, 210 lb back from Nebraska signed a one year deal with the Pats in 2017 that included a $1.1 million signing bonus, worth a total of $3.15 million. In a week ten 2017 game Burkhead became the first NFL player in forty years to block a punt and also catch a touchdown pass in the same game. The following year Burkhead spent two full months on injured reserve due to a neck injury, but rebounded to play in 23 games over the last two seasons. Rex has appeared in 41 regular season games over four seasons in New England, with 1,882 yards from scrimmage and 17 touchdowns during that time. In the 2018-19 playoffs Burkhead scored three touchdowns, with 45 receiving yards and 96 yards rushing.

In the AFCCG at Kansas City Rex Burkhead scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, then followed that up with the game-winning touchdown in overtime.

Happy 60th birthday to Ben Thomas
Born July 2, 1961 in Ashburn, Georgia
Patriot DE, 1985-1986; uniform #99
Pats 2nd round (56th overall) selection of the 1985 draft, from Auburn

On the last day of April in 1985, the Patriots traded their first (16th overall) and third round (75th) picks to San Francisco for the 49ers first (28th), second (56th) and third round (84th) picks. Thomas was chosen with that extra 2nd round pick; with the later first the Pats took Trevor Matich (who had a lengthy NFL career - as a long snapper) and Audrey McMillan (who never played a down for New England - but did go on to become an All Pro corner for Minnesota). The Niners? They used that first round draft pick on some guy named Jerry Rice....

Ben Thomas lasted less than one and a half seasons in New England, appearing in 19 games with one start and one sack. From '85 to '91 he played in 54 NFL games, and was a starter only in Atlanta during the 1989 season. Thomas went back to his alma mater in 1997 and worked as the Director of Athletic Events from 2005-08; since then he has been Auburn's Director of Player Development.

Happy 39th birthday to Kelvin Kight
Born July 2, 1982 in Atlanta
Patriot WR, 2006; uniform #19
Signed as a free agent on July 31, 2006

Kelvin Kight had 76 receptions for 1,102 yards and four touchdowns in his junior and senior seasons at Florida, during the first two years that Ron Zook took over from Steve Spurrier for the Gators. Kight was not drafted and bounced between the Rams, Packers, Jaguars and Vikings from 2004-06, appearing in only one NFL game during that time. The Patriots signed him at the start of training camp in 2006, and he spent most of that season on the practice squad.

On December 9 Kight was promoted to the active roster after LB/ST ace Don Davis went on injured reserve, and OL Gene Mruczkowski was released. Kight was used on special teams for four games, though he did also have one nine-yard reception and an eight-yard run; he also appeared in the first two playoff games of that season for the Pats. Kight was re-signed the following April, but was released during cuts at the end of the 2007 training camp, ending his NFL career.

Happy 40th birthday to Santonio Thomas
Born July 2, 1981 in South Bay, Florida
Patriot DT, 2005-2007; uniform #92
Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent on April 30, 2005, from Miami

Santonio Thomas spent most of his time with the Pats on the practice squad. He was promoted to the 53-man roster for both of the playoff games following the 2005 season, but was a healthy scratch in those two games. Thomas was on the roster for seven games in the first half of 2007, appearing in four games and inactive in three others before returning to the practice squad. Cleveland signed Thomas in September of 2008, and he appeared in 11 games for the Browns.

Sept 16, 2007 in Foxborough: Santonio Thomas wraps up Charger RB LaDainian Tomlinson; Patriots defeat San Diego 38-14 in week two.

Happy 34th birthday to Clay Harbor
Born July 2, 1987 in Dwight, Illinois
Patriot TE, 2016; uniform #81
Signed as an unrestricted free agent on April 4, 2016

The Pats signed the veteran free agent in March of 2016, after six seasons with Philadelphia and Jacksonville. In a bit of a surprise Clayton Lee Harbor was the fourth tight end on the roster to open up the season, along with Rob Gronkowski, Martellus Bennett and A.J. Derby, beating out Bear Pascoe, Steven Scheu and rookie draft pick Bryce Williams at that position.

In week one Clay was on the field for 22 offensive snaps and 17 special team snaps, but those numbers rapidly dwindled over the next two games. The 6-3, 250-pounder was released on October 3rd and replaced on the tight end depth chart by Greg Scruggs.

Harbor spent 2016 with Detroit, and finished his NFL career on injured reserve for the entire 2017 season with the New Orleans Saints. His final stat line with the Patriots reads three games played, no receptions, 25 offensive snaps and 39 special team snaps. In 2018 he was a contestant on the television show The Bachelorette; he had to leave the show early though, due to a wrist injury that required surgery - that ironically occurred while playing football with other contestants. Clay Harbor appeared in 98 NFL games over seven seasons, with 114 receptions and eight touchdowns.

July 2, 1975:
The Patriots acquire Bob Howard from San Diego in exchange for a 1976 fifth round draft pick. The cornerback was a second round draft pick in 1967 from San Diego State and had played in 102 of a possible 112 games for the Chargers from 1967 to 1974. Howard took over as the starting left corner in '75, with John Sanders moving from CB to free safety. Bob was a three year starter in New England, missing just one game while picking off ten passes. Over 13 NFL seasons Bob Howard played in 169 games with 147 starts, registering 37 interceptions and ten fumble recoveries.

July 2, 1973:
New England signs Brian Dowling to a contract. BD had been an 11th round draft pick in 1969 by Minnesota, with the Vikings trying him at quarterback, wide receiver and running back in training camp before releasing him. He played for the Bridgeport Jets of the Atlantic Coast Football League in 1969 at QB and WR while teaching math at Cheshire Academy and serving as an assistant coach at Yale. Dowling was on the Pats taxi squad in 1970-71, then got some playing time in '72 as a backup to Jim Plunkett and holder on kicks.

The Pats also re-signed Reggie Rucker, who started at wide receiver for the team from 1972-74. The former BU Terrier had 126 receptions for 1,884 yards and ten touchdowns in his 43 games with the Patriots.

Other pro football players born July 2 with New England area connections:
- Gary 'Killer' Kowalski, 61 (7/2/60); grew up in Clinton CT and played TE at Boston College. Drafted by the Rams in '83, he was an OL with the Chargers through '88.

- Larry Green (1895-1960); born in Rockland and grew up in Haverhill; he was an end and guard for the 1920 Canton Bulldogs and 1921 Hammond Pros.

- Nick Hennessey, 35 (7/2/86); born in Salem; went to Danvers High School and Andover Academy. Was an OT for the 2009 Buffalo Bills and was then in the CFL for three years; now an offensive line coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

And from the wayback machine:
- Frank Muehlheuser (1926-2006); FB/LB for the 1948 Boston Yanks.

- Bill Chipley (1920-2002); E/DB for the Boston Yanks, and later head coach at Washington & Lee.

Some other notable pro football players born on this date:
- Carlos Rogers, 40 (7/2/81); CB from 2005-14 with Washington, SF and Oakland.

- Hassan Jones, 57 (7/2/64); Viking WR had 3,824 receiving yards and 24 TD.

- Mark Clayton, 39 (7/2/82); Ravens' WR never really quite lived up to his status as a first round draft pick.

- Chad Henne, 36 (7/2/85); was the career passing leader at Michigan, but has gone 18-36 as an NFL starter for Miami, Jacksonville and KC - and despite more career picks (63) than touchdown passes (60) is still employed as a pro football quarterback.

- Joe Pisarcik, 69 (7/2/52); NYG QB will forever be known for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory with the infamous fumble at the Miracle at the Meadowlands.


Mike the Brit

Minuteman Target Supporter
What a day! I loved Benny from the first time I saw him in pre-season and I still do. I can't find my favourite photo of him, though: somersaulting into the endzone in a throwback jersey with his pants coming down (against the Jets?)

As for Troy Brown, I didn't realize his greatness till too late. I knew the highlight plays, of course, but I didn't realize how much of that 2001 offense *was* Troy Brown (as well as Antowain Smith). Great credit to Charlie Weis for the way he used him -- all of those sweeps and reverses -- but even more credit to Troy Brown for how much he put the team on his back.

(And the Burkmeister was a great Patriot too.)


In the Starting Line-Up
Today in Patriots History
Happy 60th birthday to Ben Thomas
Born July 2, 1961 in Ashburn, Georgia
Patriot DE, 1985-1986; uniform #99
Pats 2nd round (56th overall) selection of the 1985 draft, from Auburn

On the last day of April in 1985, the Patriots traded their first (16th overall) and third round (75th) picks to San Francisco for the 49ers first (28th), second (56th) and third round (84th) picks. Thomas was chosen with that extra 2nd round pick; with the later first the Pats took Trevor Matich (who had a lengthy NFL career - as a long snapper) and Audrey McMillan (who never played a down for New England - but did go on to become an All Pro corner for Minnesota). The Niners? They used that first round draft pick on some guy named Jerry Rice....
funny quirk in the stat line for Super Bowl XX per pro football reference ... Ben Thomas registered 0 tackles, 0 assists, yet is credited with a sack

Hyped Supporter Supporter
Troy Brown, Man....

Three things come to mind:

- 101 catches in

- Strip of an interception in the '06 divisional at San Diego...

- And most importantly, he declined to sign with the Jets to finish out his career.

Tony2046 Supporter Supporter
2019 Weekly Picks Winner
Just wonderful. A 3-way player. Very athletically talented, of course, but there are dozens, maybe hundreds, of guys in the league who are as talented. But there's only one Troy Brown!

I can't quantify the definition of clutch but if I would want to demonstrate it I'd show clips of Troy Brown and Julien Edelman. How lucky are we to have experienced both of those players?


Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Love Troy Brown. Played offense, defense, special teams. Ultimate team guy and underdog.

He put Marshall on the map before Moss. I can't think of any other NFL player who was a computer science major in college, another totally random tidbit that shows how versatile and special this guy was/is. About a decade ago I had a gift of any Pats jersey of any Patriot past/present and chose Brown's. A high proportion of my favorite memories from the 2001 season include Troy Brown.

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