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June 2 in Pats History: The Replacements


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Today in Patriots History
Replacement Players

Not many Patriot birthdays to celebrate today, but one is a replacement player.


The third week of the 1987 season was cancelled due to the players going on strike, but the owners had a plan in place for week four.


New England Patriots fans wait on line outside old Sullivan Stadium to return their tickets for refunds.

The Pats lost their first replacement game to Cleveland by the score of 20-10.


Patriots fans wore bags over their heads as New England and Cleveland replacement teams played Oct. 4, 1987, at Sullivan Stadium.

Game two went much better:

The Patriots, who last season became the first team in 20 years to average less than 3 yards a carry, accumulated 213 yards rushing Sunday as New England beat the Buffalo Bills 14-7.

LeBlanc, recently released by Winnipeg of the CFL and signed by the Patriots as a replacement, gained 146 yards on 35 carries.

While LeBlanc was running circles around the Bills before the smallest Sullivan Stadium crowd ever -- 11,878 rain-soaked fans - striking Patriots quietly walked the picket line.

No incidents were reported on the New England picket line outside the stadium during the second week of demonstrations by striking NFL players at games played by replacement players.

LeBlanc keyed a running attack that accumulated the most New England rushing yards since the final game of the 1985 season, the year in which the Patriots used a ground attack to reach the Super Bowl.

By the third replacement game many of the regular players had crossed the picket line.

After canceling one week of play, the league opted to continue with teams stocked with replacement players. Several Patriots, including Collins, Clayborn and Tippett, crossed the picket line and joined the motley crew assembled by general manager Patrick Sullivan. New England managed to win two of the three games played during the strike, including a memorable win against the Houston Oilers in the Astrodome.

The Patriots had succeeded in acquiring former Boston College star quarterback Doug Flutie from the Chicago Bears during the strike for only an eighth-round draft choice. Flutie sparked New England to a 23-13 victory over Houston, completing 15-of-25 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown. Though Flutie’s acquisition had merely been intended as a stop-gap measure, his presence on the roster would spark a quarterback controversy that would last the better part of three years in Foxborough.

Some of these articles are very lengthy, but they do give detailed facts (and interesting opinions) on the 1987 NFL strike.

"Those players kind of considered themselves a cult, almost," said Brandt, a former Cowboys exec who's now an analyst for "Four or five of them got together and bought a used car for 500 bucks so they had transportation. They were a self-reliant group is what they were. I think the hardest thing they had to do was find a coat and tie to wear on an away game when we went to play the Jets.
"It was refreshing. There were so many interesting, refreshing things that happened that year."
So many stories. Like the time receiver Cornell Burbage reached into the stands during a road game at New York, grabbed a package and placed it under the bench. It was a box of laundry Burbage's sister had washed for him. He couldn't afford to have his clothes cleaned at the hotel.

The replacement rosters were full of players who were cut in training camp and played in the USFL and CFL. Though cracks began forming in the union right away, as 15% of the NFL crossed the picket line to play with the scabs. Among the players who crossed the picket line were Howie Long of the Los Angeles Raiders, Tony Dorsett, and Randy White each from the Dallas Cowboys, Mark Gastineau of the New York Jets, Doug Flutie of the New England Patriots, Steve Largent of the Seattle Seahawks and Joe Montana of the San Francisco 49ers. Despite their presence, the fan reaction to the scab games was overwhelmingly negative as most games had less than 10,000 fans per game. Nowhere was the reaction worse than in Philadelphia where the Teamsters and fans joined the NFLPA on the picket line and drove around Veteran’s Stadium honking their horns, as less than 5,000 fans attended the Eagles game against the Chicago Bears.
With some teams having players cross the picket lines and other teams being made up completely of replacement players some of the games were incredibly lopsided.

As the CBA talks broke down that year, a quote that to this day is widely attributed to Dallas Cowboys president Tex Schramm started making the rounds. “You guys are cattle and we’re the ranchers,” Schramm supposedly told NFLPA executive director Gene Upshaw during a late-stage bargaining session in September 1987. “And ranchers can always get more cattle.”
And that sentiment—that the players were fungible, disposable, and not entitled even to the modicum of agency they had—was impossible to miss. The explanation of the owners’ tactics was left to Hugh Culverhouse of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a notorious skinflint and historically negligent owner. On Culverhouse’s watch, the Bucs once lost at least 10 games in 12 consecutive seasons. He ran the Bucs on such a shoestring that players were reduced to grabbing lunch at a local fast-food drive-thru after taping up for practice. Yet when it came to replacing striking players with scabs, Culverhouse uttered a line that to this day remains the league’s failsafe when it wants assert its power over the players: “It’s in the best interests of protecting the integrity of the game.”
So much of what’s happened since—from players’ inability to secure more guaranteed contracts to the league’s manipulation and denial of the science of brain trauma to the heavy-handedness of the league’s discipline—can be traced to the ’87 strike. It’s hard, drawing the line between then and now, not to view that time as the birth of the modern NFL.

In some ways, it is impossible to explain to folks too young to have cared in 1987 just how devastating the ’87 football strike was. There have been other work stoppages that crushed the masses’ sporting soul. The ’94 baseball strike was long and ugly. The NHL once lost an entire season to a lockout. The NBA has had shortened seasons to accommodate protracted lockouts. All of them bring their own share of collateral damage.
None of them match what happened 30 years ago this month, though. For one thing, the solidarity that had marked prior strikes proved a sad joke in this one: fully 15 percent of the union membership would cross picket lines, including a number of high-profile players, including Lawrence Taylor, including Joe Montana.
That would have been dispiriting enough.
But the NFL’s owners, prepped for war, instituted something they called “replacement players,” something the rest of the world called “scab players,” and the images were awful: buses being attacked, players being egged and then, worst of all, the reality of scab football.

Review of Three-Week Professionals: Inside the 1987 NFL Players Strike | Sport in American History

Chapter three provides insight from former NFL coach Les Steckel, who was an “offensive assistant” for the New England Patriots in 1987 (p. 40). Chapter four captures the experience of wide receiver Larry Linne, who signed on as a replacement player for the New England Patriots and was kept on for the entire season. Chapter five looks at the replacement play of the Los Angeles Rams, a team that welcomed now infamous West Coast rapper Marion “Suge” Knight to suit up.
Through these perspectives and Kluck’s lively breakdown of the replacement games, the work shows how much the league has changed since 1987, impacted by 1980s conversations on labor and ownership, economics and play, branding and image, and health and safety. He reveals how by striking the players both lost and won.

Replacements as a Labor Weapon | Berkeley Law School

In Foxboro, New England Patriots fans were divided amongst strike supporters and ticket holders. Picketers shouted “Shame, shame, shame” while the game attendees shouted “Game, game, game.” Violence, however, was notably absent in Massachusetts.
Owners knew that the fact that the games counted toward the playoff race meant having their superstars cross would give them a huge leg up on the competition (not to mention further break the back of the union). Some owners attempted to do more than simply ask nicely. For William Sullivan, Jr., the owner of the Patriots in 1987, the answer to his problems was to air his grievances directly by appealing to Lin Dawson with a heartfelt letter. The relevant portion of the long rambling letter was its conclusion. Sullivan stated, “I might say that I am not as proud of the Patriots as I once was. Indeed, I am ashamed of them and cannot wait the conclusion of this event to see if I can get someone else to buy the contracts of people who have acted in such an unfair manner.” Dawson, in responding to this perceived threat of future action, got upset and filed a complaint with the NLRB.
Despite a near total loss on almost all counts of the action, the NLRB’s weak enforcement remedies arguably resulted in a win for the league.

Happy 59th birthday to Clay Pickering
Born June 2, 1961 in Jacksonville, Florida
Patriot WR, 1987; uniform #48

The 6'5" Pickering played both football and basketball in college, and was one of four Maine Black Bears to play for the Pats, though it was for a very brief period of time. After being ventroned by the Bears and Bengals for three years, Pickering joined the Patriots for the final strike/replacement player game in '87, with one catch for ten yards.



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Today in Patriots History
More June 2 Events

June 2, 2002: Keith Kidd is hired as assistant director of pro scouting


2004 Patriots Media Guide, Page 47

Keith Kidd is enjoying his 18th season in football, including his 14th season in player personnel. He joined the Patriots in 2002 as the assistant director of pro scouting after three seasons as the Cleveland Browns' director of pro personnel. With the Browns he was responsible for managing the pro personnel department. (duh). In that role he oversaw all the scouting of NFL players as well as the advance scouting of each upcoming opponent. he also played a role in the signing of free agents, including assistance in the negotiation of player contracts. Prior to joining the Browns he spent eight seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (1991-1998), including the final five seasons in their pro personnel department.​

He began his football career as a graduate assistant at Eastern Kentucky University in 1987-88. From 1989-90, he served as a graduate assistant at Arizona State, where he assisted with defensive backs.​

Kidd was born in Richmond, Ky. He holds a bachelor's degree in physical education and a master's degree in sports administration from Eastern Kentucky. His father, Roy, retired after 39 seasons as the head coach at Eastern Kentucky University and was inducted into the conference's hall of fame in 2003. His 315-123-8 career record (.715) ranks as the sixth all-time winningest coach in Division I or I-AA football history. Both the EKU football stadium and the conference's annual coach of the year award are named in his honor. Keith and his wife, Laura, have one son, Kody.​

Keith Kidd, a long-time pro personnel director in the NFL and son of legendary Eastern Kentucky University football coach Roy Kidd, joined the current EKU football staff as the Director of Football Relations in the spring of 2014.​

Kidd worked 18 years in the NFL with four teams – the Arizona Cardinals (1991-99), Cleveland Browns (1999-2002), New England Patriots (2002-05) and Denver Broncos (2009-13). He also spent three seasons as an NFL analyst for ESPN's scouting organization, Scouts Inc., and wrote columns for In his most recent stop, Kidd was the director of pro personnel for the Broncos. He began his professional career as a graduate assistant at EKU in 1987 and moved on to Arizona State University (1989-91) as a graduate assistant coach under former EKU quarterback Larry Marmie.​

June 2, 1982: WR Harold Jackson is released

The Patriots traded two draft picks for Jackson to fill the void left by the career ending injury to Daryl Stingley. Although he was considered by some to be past his prime and only a short term solution at the age of 32, Jackson averaged 20.3 yards receptions over four seasons with the Patriots, with 156 catches for 3,162 yards and 18 touchdowns. He and Stanley Morgan formed an exciting wide receiver duo to compliment a backfield that set the NFL record for rushing yardage in 1978.

Jackson had eight 100-yard games as a Patriot, the best being 147 yards in a 1979 27-23 week 16 victory over the Vikings. He also excelled against the Jets: three touchdown receptions for 121 yards in a 1979 56-3 week two annihilation of gang green, and five receptions for 118 yards and two TD in a 1978 week nine 55-21 blowout win against the jete. At the time he ranked fourth in franchise history in receiving yards, and seventh in receiving touchdowns.

Jackson led the NFL in receptions, receiving yardage and receiving touchdowns in the seventies, yet was never voted into the pro football hall of fame. He had 29 100-yard games and ranked second in all-time receiving yardage at the time of his retirement.


1981 Patriots Media Guide, Page 39

One of the NFL's all-time great receivers, Harold continues to rewrite the record books . . . the top active receiver in the NFL, Harold became the third all-time reception yardage leader in NFL history last season . . . he moved ahead of his receiver coach, Raymond Berry, on that list with his top performance of the year, six receptions for 127 yards and a TD against Berry's former team, Baltimore (10-19) . . . Harold now ranks behind only Don Maynard (11,834 yards) and Lance Alworth (10,226 yards) with his 9,577 career receiving yards . . . his 532 career receptions rates as the seventh best career total in NFL history . . . he has 28 100-yard receiving games in his career, the fourth best mark in NFL history . . .​

Harold was the Patriots' third leading receiver in 1980, catching 35 passes for 737 yards and five TDs . . . since joining the Patriots on 8-16-78 in a trade that sent two draft choices to Los Angeles (Patriots' third in '79 and fourth in '80), he has caught 117 passes for 2493 yards (21.3 avg.) and 18 TDs while starting 47 of 48 games . . . when the Patriots opened their game at Houston on 11-10-80 with a double TE formation, Harold had his 167 consecutive game starting streak snapped, although he only missed the game's first play . . . caught his 500th career reception in style against Cleveland in the 1980 season opener as he hauled in a ten yard TD pass . . . during his 13 year career, he has made five Pro Bowl appearances (following '69, '72, '73, '75 and '77 seasons) . . .​

Harold became one of the first players in club history to achieve a 1,000 yard receiving season and topped the club in receiving with 45 catches for 1,013 yards and seven TDs in 1979 . . . he went over the 1,000 yard mark in the season finale vs. Minnesota (12-16-79) when he grabbed a 43 yard pass from Steve Grogan late in the final stanza . . . joined Stanley Morgan on the same day in achieving that club first . . .​

Receiver Coach Raymond Berry says "Harold is an amazing athlete and his trademarks of durability and consistency are revealed by his career statistics. He's an explosive player who can break a game open." . . . he did just that by catching three passes vs. the New York Jets (9-9-79), all for TDs (49, 44, 28) that helped engineer a record setting 56-3 Patriot win . . . it was his third 1,000 yard receiving campaign as he led the NFL in receiving in both 1969 (1,116 yards) and 1972 (1,048 yards) while at Philadelphia with a 22.5 yards reception average in '79, he ranked only second to Morgan (22.8) in the entire NFL while finishing tenth in the NFL for reception yardage . . .​

Harold was the NFL leader in receptions during 1972 with 62 catches and topped the league the following year with a 21.9 yard reception average . . . had his best day as a Ram receiver when he caught 8 passes for 127 yards and 2 TDs vs. New Orleans in 1977 . . . while with Philadelphia, snagged a single game career high of nine receptions vs. Dallas in 1972 . . . Harold has achieved his standout career while playing with three NFL clubs . . . originally the 12th round pick of the Rams in 1968, he was active in just two games while spending time on the cab squad . . . the following year, he was traded to Philadelphia on 7-7-69 with DE John Zook for Eagle Israel Lang . . . he returned to the Rams in another trade on 6-8-73 with RB Tony Baker and several draft choices that sent QB Roman Gabriel to Philly . . . shares the distinction of playing the most pro seasons on the Patriots along with OC Bill Lenkaitis.​

COLLEGE: Clocked at 9.3 in the 100 yard dash, Harold set a school receiving record as a senior at Jackson State, a school that has produced many outstanding NFL players.​

PERSONAL: Single . . . dubbed "Hollywood" by teammates, having appeared in small roles in several motion pictures . . . the personable vet spent the past off-season travelling throughout the country making speaking appearances . . . enjoys working with youth groups . . . lives in Los Angeles during the off-season and sells real estate . . . includes golf and tennis among his hobbies.​





Other pro football players born today with New England area connections:
Pat Hughes, 74 (June 2, 1947); Boston University class of 1970
The Everett native was a captain of BU's 9-1 1969 team that went to the Pasadena Bowl. Hughes played linebacker in 141 games over ten NFL seasons with the Giants and Saints.

Mike Evans, 54 (June 2, 1967)
This Mike Evans went to Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, and was a DT for Kansas City in 1992.

Harry Curran (June 2, 1894)
The Marlboro native and UMass alum was a halfback for the 1920-21 Chicago Cardinals.

From the wayback machine:
- Andy Kowalski (6/2/20); end for the 1945 Boston Yanks.
- Steve Sierocinski (6/2/23); tackle for the 1946 Boston Yanks.

Some other NFL players born today include:
- Andy McCollum (6/2/70); C/G played in 199 games from '95-'08.
- Garo Yepremian (6/2/44); two-time All-Pro kicker is most well known for his ill-advised Super Bowl pass attempt.
- Hoby Brenner (6/2/59); 13-season TE for the Saints.
- Lawrence McCutcheon (6/2/50); RB gained 8,377 yards from scrimmage from '72-'81, mostly with the Rams.


Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
nice... the first post dovetails nicely with the prior post


99.999% impossible to find actual photos of the scab games... lord knows ive tried... there is one from '87 available that I can find (browns @ Patriots), least for now on the net... thats where this Bob Bleier screen shot comes from...

italian pat patriot

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
2021 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
nice... the first post dovetails nicely with the prior post


99.999% impossible to find actual photos of the scab games... lord knows ive tried... there is one from '87 available that I can find (browns @ Patriots), least for now on the net... thats where this Bob Bleier screen shot comes from...
Seems he had 1 td and 1 int

captain stone Retired Jersey Club
June 2, 1982: WR Harold Jackson is released

See page 39 of


I loved Harold Jackson when he played for us here!


Staff member
Wasn't he like a player/coach?
After he retired as a player he was the receiver coach for the Patriots from 1985-89. I sort of half-remember talk of his coming back as a player-coach during that time, but if so he didn't get on the field during a game; his final NFL stats were with Seattle in 1983.

captain stone Retired Jersey Club
After he retired as a player he was the receiver coach for the Patriots from 1985-89. I sort of half-remember talk of his coming back as a player-coach during that time, but if so he didn't get on the field during a game; his final NFL stats were with Seattle in 1983.

He was the proverbial coach on the field when he played...I wish we had someone here now of his caliber instead of some of the unqualified, DIII thanksdads that have "graced" our coaching ranks over the years...

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