Today in Patriots History
Happy birthday to Lawrence McGrew, who would have been 64 today
Born July 23, 1957 in Berkeley, California
Patriot LB, 1980-1989; uniform #50
Pats 2nd round (45th overall) selection of the 1980 draft, from Southern Cal
Died April 5, 2004 at the age of 46
Lawrence McGrew grew up in Berkeley, played football at Contra Costa College and the University of Southern California, and started in two Rose Bowls. He was selected in the second round of the first post-Chuck Fairbanks era draft, along with DB Roland James, RB Vagas Ferguson and DT Steve McMichael. McGrew helped New England reach the Super Bowl in 1986 (leading the team in tackles that season), and earned a championship ring when New York beat Buffalo 20-19 in 'wide right' Super Bowl 25. Unfortunately his fine play is forgotten by those who only remember him as being the guy in the photo who was run over while futilely attempting to singlehandedly tackle Refrigerator Perry late in Super Bowl 20.
Former New England Patriots linebacker Lawrence McGrew died Friday, April 2, 2004. He was 46-years old.
McGrew played 10 seasons for the New England Patriots before finishing his career with the New York Giants in 1990. He was originally drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 1980 NFL draft (45th overall) after earning defensive MVP honors as a senior at Southern Cal. He started 98 of 122 games over the next 10 seasons (1980-89) for the Patriots and compiled 730 career tackles, including 14.5 sacks. McGrew recorded a career high in 1984 with 167 total tackles. He completed his 11-year career as a member of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants in 1990.
April 27, 2016:
The Patriots will be looking to strike Draft gold this weekend. With the team scheduled to make its first pick in the 60th spot, here is a look back at the team's second round hits and misses.
The Patriots have struck linebacker gold in the second round starting with Patriots Hall of Famer Steve Nelson with the 34th selection in 1974. Nelson went on to start 173 of the 174 games he played as a Patriot and finished his career with 1,776 tackles between 1974 and his retirement after the 1988 season. He started Super Bowl XX.
In 1980, the Pats grabbed linebacker Lawrence McGrew - another Super Bowl XX starter - with the 45th pick. He played in 122 games with 74 starts between 1980 and 1989
Larry McGrew recovered a fumble on the second play of Super Bowl 20, setting up a field goal. It turned out to be the highlight of the game for Pats fans.
There was an odd story of somebody attempting to impersonate McGrew back in 2003, a few months prior to his death. A Colorado thief named Frederick William McGrew III illegally adopted Lawrence’s name and career statistics to get a job as an assistant football coach at Gavilan College in California. The impostor was fired five weeks later and arrested. He told police he was Lawrence’s nephew and repeated the claim at his initial court appearance, but it was all a big fat lie.
Three months later (court systems moved faster back then) Frederick McGrew was sentenced to three years of supervised probation and 160 hours of community service for stealing Lawrence McGrew’s identity, and for fraudulently using an Ohio woman’s Social Security number.
Sept 12, 2003:
Home of the Gilroy Dispatch
April 6, 2004:
Home of the Gilroy Dispatch
This column gives a glimpse of the type of person Larry McGrew was:
April 9, 2004:
The East Bay's Non-commercial Voice
Charyce McGrew described her husband as a jokester, who never got caught up in his fame and remained totally devoted to his family. When he was on the road, she said, he would call 10 times a day. “I would pick up the phone and tease him and say ‘what do you want stalker?’ If he went two hours without calling, I knew something was wrong,” she said.
At Berkeley High, Williams said, McGrew was a beloved cut-up. “We’d put on shows for people. People wanted to see us act goofy,” he said. McGrew, though, took football seriously. He lifted weights religiously and made second team all-county as a senior, despite suffering a broken ankle.
After a year at Contra Costa College, he enrolled at USC where he starred on a team that won a share of the national championship his junior year. Artie Gigantino, the press secretary for the Oakland Raiders, joined the team as an assistant coach for McGrew’s senior year, and remembered the linebacker as a cool customer. “My first game as a coach I was literally upchucking in the locker room and Larry put his arm around me and said, ‘Relax, we’re USC, we always win.”
McGrew spent most of his 11-year NFL career with the New England Patriots. He led the team in tackles in 1985, the year the Patriots made it to the Super Bowl, but is best known for being the defender William “The Refrigerator” Perry stampeded over for a touchdown in the Chicago Bears victory over the Patriots in the championship game. His friend Williams said that when a teammate asked McGrew if he was all right as he lay on the ground after the play, McGrew replied, “I’m OK, but I’m going to be on ESPN for the rest of my life.”
Injuries took their toll on McGrew, who ended his career as a reserve on the 1990 Super Bowl Champion New York Giants. Though his skills deteriorated, Charyce said, McGrew’s spirits were always high. “Larry never sulked. I can’t remember him ever complaining,” she said. “For him, it was just work.”
An inoperable neck injury made it difficult for McGrew to work after his football days were over, Charyce said. Tyler, also a resident of Lancaster, said he and McGrew often exercised together at a local gym. He said McGrew made friends with everyone and never played up his NFL past. “He was never Lawrence McGrew the football player, he was always just Larry.”
Nov 23, 1986: At Sullivan Stadium the Pats took down Buffalo QB Jim Kelly six times in a 22-19 victory.
The Larry McGrew Tribute