Today in Patriots History
'I didn't know he played for the Pats!'
'I didn't know he played for the Pats!'
Happy 60th birthday to Henry Ellard
Born July 21, 1961 in Fresno, California
Patriot WR, 1998; uniform #17
Signed as a free agent on October 28, 1998
Desperate for help after a series of injuries decimated their receiving corps, the New England Patriots Wednesday signed veteran wideout Henry Ellard for the rest of the season.
Injuries to Terry Glenn, Troy Brown and Vincent Brisby forced the Patriots to resurrect the 37-year-old former Los Angeles Rams great and place him in the lineup this week against the Indianapolis Colts.
"He worked out very well (Tuesday) and was very precise about his routes," Patriots coach Pete Carroll said.
Ellard has recorded seven 1,000-yard seasons. He is third in all-time receiving yardage with 13,662 and fourth in receptions with 807.
Ellard has not played in 1998 after making 32 catches for 485 yards in 16 games for the Washington Redskins last season. The Patriots will be his third team in a 15-year career that began with the Los Angeles Rams and included a four-year stint with Redskins.
"A week and a half ago, I said this working out is kind of getting tiresome so I started to shift gears," Ellard said, "and that's when the call came in" from the Patriots.
New England is trying to climb to the top of the AFC East. The Patriots are tied with the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills for second place, a game behind the Miami Dolphins.
On Sunday, the Patriots failed to score a touchdown in a 12-9 loss to the Dolphins. With Glenn out with a hamstring injury, Brown sitting with a badly sprained ankle and Brisby lost with a broken finger, a harried Drew Bledsoe completed just 13 of 33 passes for 240 yards and an interception.
Rookie Tony Simmons, who has one catch for 47 yards, will start opposite Shawn Jefferson against the Colts.
Out of the NFL for the first time since 1982, Henry Ellard kept busy helping a struggling private high school team in Orange, Calif., with only 14 players.
At the age of 37 Henry Ellard appeared in five games for the Pats, with five receptions for 86 yards. 1998 was the final year of a great 16-season, 228-game career. Ellard averaged 16.9 yards on his 814 NFL receptions for 13,777 yards, and scored 65 touchdowns. He had seven seasons with 1,000-plus yards receiving, led the league with 1,414 yards receiving in 1988, in yards per catch in 1996 (19.5), and once averaged 98.7 yards per game (1989). It is amazing that he only went to the Pro Bowl three times; he was also a first team All Pro in 1984 (when he returned two punts for touchdowns) and 1988.
Today Ellard still ranks 25th in NFL history for all-purpose yards (15,718), 15th in receiving yards and 33rd in receptions - despite having been surpassed by many in recent years who have benefitted from today's pass-happy rules. Since retiring from the NFL he has worked as a wide receivers coach with the Rams, Jets and Saints; he is now a high school head coach in San Antonio.
Henry Ellard, who spent a combined 30 seasons in the NFL as a standout wide receiver and then an assistant coach, has been hired as the head football coach for San Antonio Christian. San Antonio Ch…
Henry Ellard is a 16-season NFL veteran who played wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams (1983–1993), Washington Redskins (1994–1998), and New England Patriots
At the time of his retirement from professional football, Ellard held Rams' team records for career receptions (593), receiving yards (9,761), 100-yard games (26), punt return average (11.3), and total offense (11,663). Counting return yardage, he gained 15,718 total yards in his career. At the time of retirement, his 13,777 receiving yards ranked third all-time in NFL history.
Ellard was known for using his height and jumping ability to get to high passes, his leadership, and his superior skills as a route runner.
Former wide receiver Henry Ellard has the resume to be considered for Canton, yet he has never been a finalist or semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And he has an idea why.