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May 4 in Pats History: The Jete-Hating Ozark Sheriff

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Today in Patriots History
The Jets-Hating Ozark Sheriff

Happy birthday to Ed Weisacosky, who would have been 77 today
Born May 4, 1944 in Pottsville, Pennsylvania
Patriot OLB, 1971-1972; uniform #66
Died November 24, 2019
Claimed off waivers from New Orleans on October 1, 1971

Ed Weisacosky was an All-American at the University of Miami, and then a sixth round (42nd overall) pick by the Dolphins in 1966. Rather than play with the brand new AFL expansion team, he instead signed a contract with San Francisco. Five years later Weisacosky joined the Patriots. He did not miss a single game over his final two pro football seasons for the Pats, making 23 starts at left linebacker. Weisacosky later became a sheriff in Missouri, retiring in 2008. He was also inducted to the Miami Hurricanes Sports Hall of Fame in 1981.



To the day he died Weisacosky still had a disdain for anything and everything to do with the Jets, and also stated that he 'enjoyed his years with the Patriots most because management was considerate of the players' and that they are still his favorite team.

Ed Weisacosky was a 1962 graduate of Pottsville Area High School, where he lettered in track, basketball and football. He was named to the 1962 PIAA Big 33 team (State of Pennsylvania All Star Team) his senior year.

After graduating from high school, he played linebacker at the University of Miami, where he was chosen team captain his senior year. Ed was also the Sports Illustrated defensive player of the week twice - once against Boston College and once versus Notre Dame. In 1965 he was named AP First Team All American at defensive end. By the end of his career with the Hurricanes he held the school records for most career tackles and most single season tackles. That same year, in the North-South All Star Shrine Game, he was named MVP for the South Team.

Ed was a sixth round (42nd overall) draft pick by the Dolphins in 1966. Rather than play with the brand new AFL expansion team, he instead signed a contract with the 49ers. Five years later Weisacosky joined the Patriots. He immediately became the starting weak side linebacker in '71, and did not miss a single game. Ed retired in the offseason, but rejoined the club just in time to be activated for week one of the '72 season. Once again he did not miss any time, but did retire for good from pro football at the end of the season.

In 1981 Ed was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame.

After his football career, Ed went into the ranching business in Mount Vernon, Missouri where he raised cattle and Arabian horses. While in Mount Vernon, he was elected Lawrence County sheriff and later served for nine years on the school board. Perhaps due in part to the four concussions he suffered as a player, as part of his will he asked that as part of his funeral that donations be made in his name to Boston University's CTE program, which conducts research on the long-term consequences of repetitive brain trauma in athletes.

Happy 43rd birthday to James Harrison
Born May 4, 1978 in Akron, Ohio
Patriot OLB, 2017; uniform #92
Signed as a veteran free agent on December 26, 2018

If Steeler fans weren't upset enough when James Harrison signed a contract with Cincinnati in 2013, those yinzers must have gone berserk when the five-time Pro Bowler donned a Patriots uniform. Apparently that was done out of spite, upset about his dwindling playing time and being a healthy scratch before Pittsburgh released him late in 2018. The Pats were the AFC champions that season but lost in the Super Bowl; Harrison went so far to say that had the Patriots won, he would have returned to New England to help them to a 7th Lombardi Trophy - one more than Pittsburgh owns.

May 4, 2001: Pats release OT Max Lane

Others pro football players born on this date with New England connections:
- Montell Owens, 37; University of Maine Black Bear was a Pro Bowl fullback for Jacksonville in 2010 and 2011. He played in 113 NFL games over nine NFL seasons.
- Tim Sherwin, 63; Boston College grad was a 4th round pick in '81 by the Colts, and spent eight years in the NFL.
- Sid Watson: Andover native averaged over 100 yards per game and 7.1 yards per carry at Northeastern. He was an NFL halfback from 1955-58 with Pittsburgh and Washington, and led the league in kickoff returns in '55.
- Ab Wimberly: drafted by the Boston Yanks in 1948, Wimberly was a Pro Bowl defensive end for Green Bay in 1952.
- Honolulu Hughes: Hawaii's first professional football and baseball player was a running back for the 1931-32 Boston Braves.
- Pop Williams: born in Jewett City and raised in Killingly CT; he went to Connecticut Agricultural College (better known today as UConn). The wingback back played five seasons in the NFL; the first four with Providence, winning a championship with the Steam Roller in 1928.


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Today in Patriots History
Two Day Two Drafts

May 4, 1977: Day Two (rounds 6-12) of the NFL Draft
  • (Pats had traded their 6th round pick (6.165) to Minnesota for S Willie Germany on 9/24/76)
  • (Pats had traded C Doug Dumler to Minnesota for a '76 8th and '77 6th (6.166) on 4/9/76)
  • (Pats had traded 6.166 to Detroit for WR Marlin Briscoe on 9/6/76)
  • 8.192 -- WR Ken Smith, Arkansas Pine-Bluff
  • 8.219 -- G Brad Benson, Penn State
  • 9.249 -- LB Jerry Vogele, Michigan
  • 10.276 - OT John Rasmussen, Wisconsin
  • (Pats had traded RB Leon McQuay to Oakland for a 10th round pick (10.279) on 4/28/76)
  • 10.279 - DE Giles Alexander, Tulsa
  • 11.303 - LB Ray Costict, Mississippi State
  • 12.333 - RB Dave Preston, Bowling Green

After selecting Raymond Clayborn, Stanley Morgan, Horace Ivory and Don Hasselbeck the previous day, the '77 draft was already a success. Germany, Dumler, Briscoe and Costict all saw playing time as backup role players - pretty much all you could hope for from players acquired with late draft picks. Coupled with a great draft the previous year, this team should have been a Super Bowl contender for many years to come.

May 4, 1979: Day Two (rounds 7-12) of the NFL Draft
  • (Pats acquired 7.177 in a trade with Washington)
  • 7.177 -- DB Judson Flint, Memphis State
  • (Pats own 7th round pick, 7.190, was forfeited by the NFL for an "illegal tryout")
  • 8.216 -- RB Randy Love, Houston
  • 9.245 -- TE John Spagnola, Yale
  • (Pats had traded RT Tom Neville to Denver for a '79 10th (10.270) on 8/23/78)
  • 10.270 - WR Martin Cox, Vanderbilt
  • 10.271 - RB Allan Clark, Northern Arizona
  • (Pats traded 11.300 as part of the deal with Washington, above)
  • (Pats had traded 12.326 to Detroit for OT Bob McKay on 9/13/78)

After going through all these drafts, I am amazed to discover how many times over the years the Pats have had draft picks taken away from them by the NFL.

Clark spent two seasons with the Pats, playing in 27 games and scoring three touchdowns. McKay started at right tackle in '76, and got plenty of playing time as a swing tackle the next two seasons. Cox was the only one to not make it to the NFL; Flint, Love and Spagnola all did so - with other teams. Spagnola was the most notable, twice having 60-plus reception seasons in Philadelphia, and playing until 1989.