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May 25 in Pats History: Kevin O'Connell

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Dec 6th

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Today in Patriots History
Kevin O'Connell

Happy 36th birthday to Kevin O'Connell
Born May 25, 1985 in Knoxville, Tennessee
Patriot QB, 2008; uniform #5
Pats third round (94th overall) selection of the 2008 draft, from San Diego State

With Matt Cassel set to become a free agent in 2009 and undrafted rookie Matt Gutierrez the only other backup quarterback on the roster, the Patriots elected to use a relatively early draft pick on another QB - despite Tom Brady coming off a record-setting year. Then Bernard Pollard happened, but Cassel performed well enough to never give The New England coaching staff a reason to insert KOC into a meaningful game situation; O'Connell appeared in two 2008 games, going 4/6 for 23 yards.

The Patriots traded Cassel to Kansas City, which should have opened up the door for KOC to be #2 on the depth chart. In a preseason week three loss to Washington, Tom Brady hit Randy Moss for a pair of touchdown passes before leaving with a shoulder injury on a hit by Albert Haynesworth. O'Connell came in and proceeded to complete five of his ten passes: three to fellow Patriots, and two to players on the opposing defense. Undrafted rookie Brian Hoyer and veteran free agent Andrew Walter both outperformed O'Connell in training camp and preseason games, and KOC was KO'd, unceremoniously released without a final chance of redemption prior to the fourth preseason game. It was one of the few instances when a player drafted in the first three rounds was cut after just one season.

Over the next four years O'Connell spent time with the Lions, Jets, Dolphins, Jets again, and Chargers. Other than being named captain for a game against the Patriots (a typical Rex Ryan failed psychological ploy), O'Connell never appeared on the field in another NFL game. His final stop was with the Chargers during their 2012 training camp.

Similar to former Patriot quarterbacks Kliff Kingsbury and Matt Cavanaugh, Kevin O'Connell has had more success in the coaching ranks than he did as an NFL quarterback. KOC is in his seventh season as an NFL coach. He started out as the quarterbacks coach for the Browns in 2015, then became a coaching assistant for the 49ers in 2016. O'Connell was hired by Washington to be their QB coach in 2017, was elevated to passing game coordinator and QB coach in 2018, and then promoted to Offensive Coordinator for the 2019 season. O'Connell is now in his second season as OC for the Los Angeles Rams; I will be curious to see how he fares with the transition from Jared Goff to Matthew Stafford at QB.

June 4, 2008:

Aug 3, 2009: (Fun read that begins with rumors of signing QB Cleo Lemon; OLB Vince Redd's release; and 'oh, by the way', the signing of another OLB who can also be the long snapper, Rob Ninkovich.)
Patriots Notebook: O'Connell stays the course | Patriot Ledger

Aug 21, 2009:

Aug 31, 2009:

Jan 29, 2019:

Jan 11, 2020: (I found this one interesting in regards to his note-taking and film study as a player)

Feb 13, 2020:

Nov 23, 2020:

March 3, 2021:


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The memory that will stick with me the longest of him was being a captain for the Jete in the first 2009 contest. His career highlight, if you will.


Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
Pats fans were almost unanimous after the 2008 preseason that he should be the backup instead of Cassell because he played so much better. Remember Brady didn’t play a snap in the 08 preseason so it was those two guys. Shows you again how preseason performance is almost entirely meaningless. (Except for Malcom Butler he popped from the start and it was real)


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Today in Patriots History
More May 25 birthdays

Happy 61st birthday to Sean Farrell
Born May 25, 1960 in Southampton, NY
Patriot LG, 1987-1989; uniform #62
Acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay on Feb 19, 1987

Farrell was an accidental first round pick by Tampa Bay in 1982, and started at right guard for the Buccaneers for five seasons. Tired of losing for miserly Hugh Culverhouse, Farrell's request to get out of Tampa was granted as the Pats traded 2nd, 7th and 9th round draft picks for his rights. He started 43 games at right guard for the Pats before shoulder surgery kept him on the injured reserve list for most of 1990. The Patriots attempted to reactivate him but in doing so exposed him to waivers, and Denver claimed him.

Sean Farrell played in 123 NFL games with 106 starts from 1982 to 1992, plus three playoff games.

A Helping Hand Is Offered to Battered NFL Veterans

Sean Farrell Joins Advest as Divisional Manager; Former New England Patriot Will Lead Newly Created Eastern Seaboard Division

June 14, 2004--Advest, Inc., a member of The MONY Group Inc. (NYSE:MNY), has announced that Sean Farrell has been named Divisional Manager for the firm's new Eastern Seaboard Division. He joins Advest from Prudential/Wachovia Securities, where he served most recently as vice president and complex manager. Before entering the securities industry in 1993, Mr. Farrell enjoyed a distinguished professional football career, including a stint with the New England Patriots.

Happy 72nd birthday to Donnell Smith
Born May 25, 1949 in Lakeland, Florida
Patriot DE, 1973-1974; uniform #65

Smith appeared in 21 games for the Pats in a backup and special teams role for Chuck Fairbanks. After his time with the Patriots he played for the Southern California Sun in the World Football League. Smith was originally a 5th round draft pick from Southern University by the Packers in 1971.

Southern football's unique 1969 team produced some of the school's greatest players

A total of 10 future NFL players played on the 1969 Southern team, and 45 years later, that list as just as impressive as it was then: Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount, six-time Pro Bowl linebacker Isiah Robertson, four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Harold Carmichael, two-time Pro Bowl defensive back Ken Ellis, defensive back Ray Jones, defensive tackle Jim Osborne, wide receiver Lew Porter, defensive lineman Alden Roche, defensive end Donnell Smith and wide receiver Jubilee Dunbar.

Happy 76th birthday to Tom Fussell
Born May 25, 1945 in Cleveland
Patriot DE, 1967; uniform #83
Pats 8th round (206th overall) selection of the 1967 draft, from LSU

Thomas Fussell played in 12 games with four starts while with the Patriots. He grew up in Baton Rouge and represented LSU in the 1966 East-West Shrine Game.

Happy birthday to Kent Carter
Born May 25, 1950 in Los Angeles
Patriot LB, 1974; uniform #51
Died December 12, 2010 at the age of 60

Carter was a late (422nd overall) draft pick by the Cardinals in 1972 out of USC. He played in two games for the Pats in '74. Carter later became an officer in the LAPD, and died in a motorcycle accident at the age of 60.

Officer Kent Carter worked for the LAPD for over 29 years and his work ethic is legendary. He was hired by the Department on February 23, 1981. The first decade of his career was spent working patrol in Divisions including Wilshire, Rampart, 77th, and time working as a vice officer. Carter’s hard work earned him a position at Training Division where he trained thousands of officers. His method of instruction was legendary and to this day held in high regard from those who learned from him.
In 1998, Carter was assigned to LAPD’s Labor Relations Division, now under Emergency Operations Division and had been working there ever since. He was a veteran labor relations officer who was responsible for Building and Trades and also worked with numerous unions across the city. Lieutenant Andrew Neiman of Emergency Operations Division explains, “Kent was the most gracious, warm, and considerate individual I have ever met. He loved his family, loved life, and was looking forward to a wonderful retirement in a year. His passing will create a huge void in the Department.”

Happy 51st birthday to Shawn Bouwens
Born May 25, 1968 in Lincoln, Nebraska
Patriot guard, 1990 (offseason)
Pats 9th round (226th overall) selection out of Nebraska Wesleyan in the 1990 draft

The Division 3 prospect never made it with the Pats, but he did play for five years in the NFL with Detroit and Jacksonville, getting into 73 games with 42 starts.

Other pro football players born on May 25 with New England area connections:

Jerome Cunningham, 30 (May 25, 1991)
Cunningham was born and raised in Waterbury CT, attending Crosby High School.
The tight end has been with the Giants, Jets, Tennessee, Detroit and Washington.

Frank Morris (5/25/1918-10/16/1988)
Born in Newton, Morris went to high school at Our Lady's (Newton Catholic), and then Boston University.
Fullback for the Chicago Bears in 1942.

Bob Haas (5/25/1906-1979)
Haas is the one and only Worcester State University alum to play in the NFL.
He was a single wing back for the 1929 Dayton Triangles.

Archie Golembeski (5/25/1900-3/9/1976)
Golembeski went to Worcester Classical High School and was an All-East All-Star at Holy Cross.
He played guard, end and center for the Providence Steam Roller in the twenties, then was the Steam Rollers head coach in 1925. Archie was also the first basketball coach at Providence College.

Since today is also Brian Urlacher's birthday it is appropriate to finish with this video:



Staff member
What we were saying about KOC back then:


captain stone

Hall of Fame Poster
What we were saying about KOC back then:

Not all of us were saying that about him back then.


Staff member
Not all of us were saying that about him back then.
Yeah, at the time it just blew me away why a team would use that early of a draft pick on a player that would never get on the field, except to hold the ball for an extra point. Brady was only 31 and coming off an MVP season where he had thrown 50 touchdowns and 4800 yards. Even if you thought TB12 might start slowing down around age 35, by then KOC is a free agent. It made no sense to me whatsoever then, and makes less sense now. The selection was a complete head-scratcher that never made any sense.

Maybe the coaching staff was overly enamored with his meticulous volumes of notes from every game he played in, or seduced by his affinity to watch and break down game film. Who knows...