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June 30 in Pats History: Bill Lenkaitis

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Sep 19th

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jmt57

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Staff member
Today in Patriots History
Bill Lenkaitis


Happy posthumous birthday to Dr. Bill Lenkaitis
Born June 30, 1946 in Strongsville, Ohio
Patriot center, 1971-1981; uniform #67
Claimed off waivers from San Diego on September 14, 1971
Died in Aug 27, 2016 at the age of 70




Bill Lenkaitis was a second round pick out of Penn State by the Chargers in 1968, where he played left guard for three years. The Pats picked him up off waivers after training camp ended in '71 and he was a reserve for his first two seasons in Foxborough, playing in all but two games with six starts. In 1973 he was on the Pats list of final roster cuts, but was removed from waivers when longtime starting center Jon Morris injured his knee. Morris was a seven-time pro bowler but he was also 33 years old, and had missed almost all of the previous two seasons to injuries.






The Pats traded Morris to Detroit, and Lenkaitis quickly put any concerns about his own abilities to rest. For the next eight years he was one of the most consistent and dependable centers in the NFL. Lenkaitis was an anchor on the line that was robbed of a Lombardi Trophy in 1976, and set the NFL record of 3,165 rushing yards in 1978.



“He was a smart player who made the calls for our offensive line and he did that flawlessly,” said Steve Grogan. “Lenk was as tough as they come and wouldn’t back down from anybody, but he also loved to laugh and when he did, we knew where it was coming from.”​






In the off seasons Lenkaitis worked on obtaining his dental degree, and opened up a practice in Foxboro while still playing football. He was named a member of the Patriots All-Decade team for the 70s, and arguably could have been named to the Pats 50th anniversary team over Morris. Bill Lenkaitis played in 151 games with 119 starts over 11 seasons with the Patriots, as well as in a pair of playoff games.






Dec 13, 1976


Aug 28, 2016


Sept 1, 2016

“Bill centered one of the greatest offensive lines, not just in franchise history, but in NFL history,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft in a statement released by the team. “As a season-ticket holder during his playing days, I was a fan of the player he was on the field. But, in my 22 years of ownership, I became an even bigger fan of the person he was off the field. He was a big man with an even bigger personality and a huge heart.”​




Oct 28, 2017

His most impressive feat: While supporting his wife and the first of their three children, Lenkaitis spent his first six NFL offseasons earning a dental degree from the University of Tennessee. He opened a practice in downtown Foxborough in 1974 and became the team’s dentist, excelling at two demanding careers.​
“His dental practice meant everything to him,’’ Donna said.​
Then the work became too much for him. He had planned to retire at 72.​
“All of a sudden, at 68, he was just not with it,’’ she said. “He would get up some days and say, ‘Cancel my patients.’ ”​
When Donna was younger, she experienced depression, she said, and Bill failed to appreciate that medication might help. “Why don’t you just go out and smell the roses?’’ he told her.​
Then came his depression, and he said to her, “Is this what it feels like? I’m so sorry.’’​
Donna said her husband suffered numerous football concussions and was slowed by CTE symptoms before he was diagnosed in 2015 with glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer.​
“I think he knew even before the cancer that he didn’t have much longer to live,’’ she said. “It was very hard for all of us to see him just crumbling away.’’​


 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Today in Patriots History
Tank Williams


Happy 41st birthday to Tank Williams
Born June 30, 1980 in Gulfport, Mississippi
Patriot safety, 2008-09; uniform #26
Signed as an unrestricted free agent on Match 5, 2008

The nickname 'Tank' actually has nothing to do with the armored vehicle, football play or physical strength. When Williams was an infant his sister told his mother that he drank so much milk that she should give him a tank of milk rather than a bottle - and the name stuck.

Clevan Williams started the first four years of his NFL career with Tennessee, then after signing with the Vikings spent 2006 on injured reserve. Bill Belichick signed the 6'3, 223 lb Stanford alum early in free agency in 2008 with the idea of making him a hybrid strong safety/linebacker. Unfortunately Williams suffered a second knee injury requiring surgery during training camp, resulting in another lost season on IR. The Pats re-signed him to a vet minimum contract, but he was released near the end of training camp in late August of 2009 - and he never played in a single regular season game for the Patriots.





Tank Williams participated in the NFL’s entrepreneurship program when injuries began to shorten his playing career, attending programs at Harvard, Stanford and Wharton. In his post-NFL career Williams has worked at a real estate investment company he founded in 2013. Since 2015 Williams has also worked as a football analyst for Yahoo! Sports. And he also had a part in the 2013 crime-comedy movie The Roosters.


35-Photo Slideshow

3/3/2019

As for Vrabel, Williams said the Titans are in good hands.​
“I was in the linebacker meeting room with Vrabel and Tedy Bruschi (in New England) when Matt Patricia was the linebackers coach and it was like all of those guys were extensions of Bill Belichick and Patricia,” Williams said. “They just had a complete understanding of not only the defense, but how you are supposed to approach each and every practice, each and every week, each and every game.​
“And I believe that is the foundation (Vrabel) is building in Tennessee, and players need to focus on understanding their responsibilities and going out there and doing their jobs. If everyone does that, then you’ll have success on the field. And having that team-first approach, and having that camaraderie as a family, that is important because everyone will buy in and support each other. If you can have that solid foundation, (the Titans) will have success.”​




Honestly, I wasn’t ready to leave football when I retired in 2009. I was coming off of my third knee injury and felt like I could battle my way back onto a roster like I had in years past. Yet, I was released by the New England Patriots during training camp only a couple days after learning my grandmother had passed away.​
Needless to say, I was devastated for multiple reasons, but fortunately, I spent the three prior off-seasons participating in the NFL’s entrepreneurship programs. My experience at the Wharton School, in particular, helped confirm my interest in real estate while also providing a network that helped me secure an internship with a commercial real estate firm run by a fellow Stanford University alum.​




Happy 29th birthday to Russell Bodine
Born June 30, 1992 in Scottsville, Virginia
Patriot C/G, 2019 offseason; uniform #66
Acquired in a trade from Buffalo on August 30, 2019, for a 2020 sixth round draft pick

The Patriots released Bodine a week after acquiring him, on September 6. He appeared in 74 games (all starts) from 2014 to 2018; the first four seasons for Cincinnati, then one year with Buffalo.









Other pro football players born on this date with New England area connections:

- Gene Prebola, 83 (6/30/38); Boston University graduate was named to the Terriers' Hall of Fame in 1991. The TE spent four seasons in the AFL with Oakland and Denver, accumulating 133 receptions for 1,823 yards.

- Josh Beekman, 38 (6/30/83); was an AP first-team All-American guard at Boston College, and played three seasons for the Chicago Bears. He is now the offensive line coach at Concord University in West Virginia.

- Dick McGrath (1901-1965, age 64); born in Winthrop, the Holy Cross alum was paid $50 per game for the 1926 Brooklyn Lions, and was coach of the 1925 Waterbury Blues.

- Bill Hegarty (1931-2002, age 71); the native of Medford MA was a DE/OT and 181st overall pick of the 1952 draft. (Birth date is in dispute; some sites say 6/30/31 and some say 10/13/27 - but the latter would make him age 25 when drafted?)




Some other NFL players born on June 30:

- Roy Green, 64 (6/30/57); the two time All Pro WR with the Cardinals led the NFL in receiving touchdowns in '83 and receiving yards in '84; he finished his career with 8,965 receiving yards and 67 touchdowns.

- Miles Austin, 37 (6/30/84); after three seasons of barely ever getting on the field, in his first start Austin set a Dallas Cowboys franchise record with 250 yards receiving on 10 receptions. He went on to score 38 career touchdowns, catching 361 passes for 5,271 yards.

- Scott Schwedes, 56 (6/30/65); the son of original Boston Patriot Ger Schwedes was a star at Syracuse, but draft bust for the Dolphins. Trivia note: PatsFan 'Andy Johnson' played football (high school, if I recall correctly?) versus Scott Schwedes.

- Kerryon Johnson, 24 (6/30/97); the Lion RB is the player selected with the draft pick that the Patriots received in exchange for Jimmy Garoppolo. The Pats traded that draft pick they had received from San Francisco to Detroit. From there New England proceeded to make a plethora of draft pick trades, ultimately selecting CB Joejuan Williams, RB Damien Harris, OT Yodny Cajuste, QB Jarrett Stidham, CB Duke Dawson and LB Christian Sam, more or less in exchange for Jimmy G.
 

captain stone

Hall of Fame Poster
Doctor Bill...I had forgotten that he passed away a few years ago...

Pats have had a great legacy at the Center position for almost their entire history, starting with Jon Morris all the way through David Andrews...

I liked Tank Williams during the 2002 draft process, and therefore liked the signing here and hoped that another year removed from his knee surgery would place him even closer to his pre-2006 form...

Russell Bodine >>>>>>>>>>>>> Thanksdad Ferentz.

I also liked BC's Josh Beekman during the 2007 draft process, and thought that he would have a longer & more productive career than he ended up having...Just not athletic enough to overcome his height issues I guess...


"- Kerryon Johnson, 24 (6/30/97); the Lion RB is the player selected with the draft pick that the Patriots received in exchange for Jimmy Garoppolo. The Pats traded that draft pick they had received from San Francisco to Detroit. From there New England proceeded to make a plethora of draft pick trades, ultimately selecting CB Joejuan Williams, RB Damien Harris, OT Yodny Cajuste, QB Jarrett Stidham, CB Duke Dawson and LB Christian Sam, more or less in exchange for Jimmy G.
www.nbcsports.com

Patriots' complicated haul from Jimmy Garoppolo trade is still growing

Welcome to New England, where second-round picks can become so, so much more. In this case, we're talking about the No. 43 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft the Patriots acquired from the San Francisco 49ers in exchange for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. One pick for one player: Simple trade, right?
www.nbcsports.com
www.nbcsports.com"

Outside of Damien Harris, what a Fukcing Waste...Thanks Billy.
 

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“Bill centered one of the greatest offensive lines, not just in franchise history, but in NFL history,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft in a statement released by the team. “As a season-ticket holder during his playing days, I was a fan of the player he was on the field. But, in my 22 years of ownership, I became an even bigger fan of the person he was off the field. He was a big man with an even bigger personality and a huge heart.”
Too bad you weren't a fan of our logo and uniforms

R.I.P. Dr. Bill
 

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