Today in Patriots History Eric Alexander Happy 37th birthday to Eric Alexander Born February 8, 1982 in Tyler, Texas Patriot LB, 2004-2009; uniform #49 ('04-'05) & #51 ('06-'09) Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of LSU in 2004 Spent most of 2004 and 2005 on the practice squad (4 regular season games) Spent most of 2008 on injured reserve Saw plenty of playing time in 2006, 2007 and 2009 Played in 45 regular season games and 7 playoff games for the Patriots Earned a Super Bowl ring for SB XXXIX Alexander is unfortunately most remembered for being the goat (not GOAT) in the one and only start of his pro football career. He was the player who was beaten by Colt WR Bradley Fletcher for a 32-yard gain on Indy's game winning drive in the 38-34 2006 AFCCG. The forgotten part of that event is that because of the Patriot defensive philosophy of taking away an opponent's top offensive threats - in this case Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne. The tactic worked - those two were limited to a combined nine receptions on twenty passes thrown their way, plus three coverage sacks. However it left a 240 pound linebacker covering a speedy #3 receiver down the sideline with no safety help. In that AFCCG Alexander had 10 solo tackles, a forced fumble, one tackle for a loss, a pass deflection and one quarterback hit. Eric Alexander - Patriots Alumni 10/9/05 - Pats Sign LB Eric Alexander from Practice Squad; Release C Gene Mruczkowski 11/23/09 - Extension for Eric Alexander | Mike Reiss LinkedIn - Eric Alexander Happy 30th birthday to Justin Francis Born February 8, 1989 in Opa-Locka FL Patriot DE, 2012; uniform #94 Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent on May 4, 2012, from Rutgers 11/4/2012 - Football journey: Justin Francis | Mike Reiss 10 games played 3 sacks 9 tackles (6) solo 4 tackles for a loss 7 quarterback hits Released on August 31, 2013 in a surprise move; later agreed to an injury settlement (high ankle sprain). Francis has since been with the Portland Thunder and Portland Steel of the Arena Football League, and the Nebraska Danger of the Indoor Football League. Happy 47th birthday to Marcus Pollard Born Feb 8, 1972 in Valley, Alabama Patriot TE, 2008 (offseason only); uniform #87 Signed as a veteran free agent on April 23, 2008 Released on August 19, 2008 NFL career stats: 192 games, 349 receptions, 40TD, 4280 yards 7/26/08 - Marcus Pollard thrilled to be with the Patriots | Boston Herald 8/19/08 - Patriots release TE Marcus Pollard; Sign Tyson DeVree | Patriots.com 8/19/08 - Patriots cut Marcus Pollard | AP/ESPN The New England Patriots released 13-year veteran tight end Marcus Pollard on Tuesday. They also signed rookie tight end Tyson DeVree, who joins Benjamin Watson, David Thomas and Stephen Spach at that position. Pollard signed with the Patriots on April 23 after being released by Seattle, where he spent one season. He played his first 10 seasons with Indianapolis and two with Detroit. "It wasn't really going to work out here the way that we had hoped and he had hoped," coach Bill Belichick said. "At the same time, there are still a couple preseason games left and time before the season opener and I think there are some other teams that are looking for tight ends and maybe there is a better opportunity for him somewhere else." In 191 games, including 133 starts, Pollard caught 349 passes for 4,280 yards and 40 touchdowns. Last season, he had 28 catches for 273 yards and two touchdowns in 14 games. DeVree originally signed with the Patriots on May 5 as a rookie free agent and was released on June 11. He played two seasons at Western Michigan and two at Colorado. February 8, 1960: The Patriots appoint Lou Saban as the franchise's first head coach. Lou Saban, 87, first coach of Patriots - The Boston Globe But it was the winter of 1960 when Mr. Saban, who had played football in college and then with the Cleveland Browns under the great Paul Brown, was picked by Ed McKeever and team owner Billy Sullivan to build the first Patriots team. In a 1994 interview with Globe sportswriter Michael Madden, Mr. Saban recalled the obstacles he faced. "The thing is, we started so late," he said. "We were the last team. All the good players were gone. . . . We had to take what was left over. "We had tryouts in the city of Boston from one end to the other. We had bricklayers, we had carpenters, we had stoker men . . . you name it, we had it." In time a team was formed, a hardworking one. But the Patriots went 5-9 for the season. "We just never wanted to look bad," Mr. Saban recalled. "We wanted to show we could play so the NFL wouldn't make fun of us." As his second season began, Mr. Saban was shoring up his defensive line, bringing in some talented young players, and just as "we were starting to have a team," he was fired, he told Madden. Sullivan replaced him with Mike Holovak, who went on to win seven games. "No hard feelings," Mr. Saban said. "Mr. Sullivan owned the team. He could do what he wants. I've always felt that way." Mr. Saban, who was 95-99-7 in 16 seasons of pro football, was also president of the New York Yankees from 1981 to '82. "He has been my friend and mentor for over 50 years, and one of the people who helped shape my life," Steinbrenner said yesterday in a statement. Patriots chairman Robert Kraft also honored Mr. Saban yesterday. "A part of his football legacy will forever be linked to many of the firsts in our franchise's history," Kraft said in a statement. "This season, we will be celebrating the Patriots' 50th anniversary and reflecting back on that inaugural season. It should give us all cause to appreciate Lou's many contributions during the Patriots' formative years."