Long before the days of Julian Edelman or Bethel Johnson returning punts for touchdowns, there was cornerback Mike Haynes during the Patriots first era of NFL contention during the mid 1970’s.
On Twitter this week, the Patriots Hall of Fame shared footage from Haynes rookie season in 1976 when he became the first Patriots player to return a punt for a touchdown in honor of his 67th birthday.
— The Hall presented by Raytheon (@TheHall) July 1, 2020
Happy Birthday to Pro Football and Patriots Hall of Famer, Mike Haynes! The defensive back played the first seven years of his career with New England, which included a famous rookie season with eight interceptions and an AFC-high 608 punt return yards. pic.twitter.com/IK5l3rdchG
— Patriots Alumni (@NEPAC) July 1, 2020
The fifth overall pick in the 1976 NFL Draft, Haynes had a dominating rookie season for the Patriots, logging eight interceptions and an AFC-leading 608 yards on 45 punt returns.
Haynes would record a second punt return later that season on his way to winning NFL Defensive Rookie Of The Year and his first of nine Pro Bowl selections.
The 1976 Patriots would go on to have an outstanding 11-3 regular season before losing to the Oakland Raiders in the divisional round in controversial fashion.
Haynes meanwhile would go on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Patriots and those same Raiders beginning in 1983, winning his only Super Bowl that season with them.
In 1994, the Patriots induced Hayes into the team Hall of Fame and retired his number 40.
Mike Haynes turns 67 YO
SB Champ – 1x
Hall of Fame – 1x
All-Pro – 2x
Pro Bowl – 9x
1976 AP Def. RoY
Would have been nice if the Patriots could have kept himpic.twitter.com/7lIoQIeU4B
— Boston Sports Info (@bostonsportsinf) July 1, 2020
Posted Under: Patriots Video
Tags: Bethel Johnson Julian Edelman Mike Haynes