Author Archives: John Morgan

Today in Patriots History: Tim Goad

John Morgan
February 28, 2020 at 5:50 am ET

Tim Goad and Ryan Allen highlight today in Patriots history.

Tim Goad

Happy 54th birthday to Tim Goad
Born February 28, 1966; from Stuart, Virginia
Patriot NT, 1988-1994; uniform #72
Pats fourth round (87th overall) selection of the 1988 draft, from North Carolina

Tim Goad grew up in rural tobacco country in Virginia. His high school was so small their were just 16 players on the football team. As a result he had to play multiple positions, including kickoff returner. Goad was a four year letterman for the Tar Heels and twice a first team All-ACC.

In week three of his rookie season Goad got his first start when Brent Williams moved to defensive end due to an injury to Ken Sims. Goad remained a fixture at nose tackle for the next seven seasons with the Patriots. Tim started 105 games for the Patriots, including consecutive streaks of 46 games and 31 games. Goad’s steady, consistent play resulted in his being named to the Pats All-Decade Team of the 1990s despite the fact he was not with the club for more than half of those years.

Tim Goad

Since retiring from football Goad has worked as a jackman and pit coach on the Nascar circuit, and joined the Bass Masters pro fishing tour.

 

Ryan Allen

Happy 30th birthday to Ryan Allen
Born February 28, 1990 in Salem, Oregon
Patriot punter and holder, 2013-2018; uniform #6
Signed as an undrafted rookie from Louisiana Tech on May 3, 2013

Ryan Allen twice won the Ray Guy award as college’s best punter, yet was not drafted. In his rookie training camp he outperformed Zoltán Meskó to win a roster spot in 2013. During that season Allen set a franchise record with a 45.9 yards per punt average, while landing 29 of 76 punts inside the twenty.

In 2017 Allen set a franchise record by limiting opponents to only 23 returns at an average of 4.6 yards per return. His career average of 45.3 yards per punt is also a team record. The three time Super Bowl champion was clutch in the playoffs. Los Angeles was forced to begin drives on their own 7, 2 and 6-yard line after punts by Allen in Super Bowl 53. The Patriots went 13-3 in the sixteen playoff games Allen played for the Pats.

 

Jess Phillips

Happy 73rd birthday to Jess Phillips
Born February 28, 1947 in Beaumont, Texas
Patriot KR/RB, 1976-1977; uniform #35
Claimed off waivers from Oakland on September 13, 1976

Jess Phillips was originally drafted by the Bengals as a safety from Michigan State in 1968. He switched to fullback the following year, and was the leading rusher for the Saints in 1973. Phillips was productive in a backup role, averaging 6.6 yards per carry in his two years with New England. He scored a touchdown in the Ben Dreith game that should have been the winning points, putting the Pats up 21-10 in the third quarter. Phillips also averaged 28.4 yards on kickoff returns in ’76, third best in the NFL that season. After ten years in the league he retired on April 10, 1978. Phillips later worked as a stock and commodities broker for Prudential-Bache Securities in Houston.

 

Eric Moore, and more

Happy 39th birthday to Eric Moore
Born February 28, 1981 in Pahokee, Florida
Patriot OLB/DE, 2010-2011; uniform #98, #92
Signed as a free agent on December 3, 2010

Eric Moore had most recently played for the Florida Tuskers of the short-lived United Football League when he was signed by the Patriots. Moore was immediately productive, with a strip sack and four tackles in his first game. Moore started the last three games of the season; in four games he had 14 tackles, two forced fumbles, two tackles for a loss and a pass defensed. Despite that bright start Moore failed to make the roster out of the 2011 training camp. He was re-signed for two games in December but never played in the NFL again after that.

 

Happy 28th birthday to Jamil Douglas
Born February 28, 1992 in Cypress, California
Patriot guard, 2016-2017
Signed to the practice squad on October 18, 2016

The former Arizona State offensive lineman never made it to the gameday roster, spending most of the 2016 season on the Pats practice squad. Douglas remained with the Patriots for the full 2017 offseason before being waived at the end of training camp. He appeared in 17 games with Miami prior to arriving in Foxboro, and played in 15 games with five starts for Tennessee last year.

 

Others with a New England connection

Chris Lindstrom, 23 (1997)
Dudley MA; Shepherd Hill Regional High School; Boston College
14th overall pick of the 2019 draft is the starting right guard for Atlanta.

Tyler Ott, 28 (1992)
Harvard
Long Snapper for Seattle has been in the NFL since 2015.

Tony Sagnella, 56 (1964)
Hamden, CT
Earned a belated super bowl ring as a Redskins replacement player DT in 1987.

Ron LaPointe, 63 (1957)
Holliston, MA
Penn State tight end was with the Colts in 1980.

Al Fiorentino (1917-2001)
Boston College
Al was a 5’7, 200 pound guard in the forties, including one season for the Boston Yanks.

And one for February 29:

John Niland, 76 (1944)
Born in Quincy, MA
A fifth overall pick of the 1966 draft for Dallas, the left guard played in 138 games and was named to six consecutive Pro Bowls.

 

Today in Patriots History: Raymond Berry

John Morgan
February 27, 2020 at 5:50 am ET

Raymond Berry, Chandler Jones and Garin Veris headline today in Patriots History.

 

Raymond Berry

Happy 87th birthday to Raymond Berry
Born February 27, 1933 in Corpus Christi, Texas
Patriot receivers coach, 1978-1981
Patriot Head Coach, 1984-1989

For a long time Raymond Berry was considered to be the greatest receiver in NFL history. Before Montana to Rice there was Unitas to Berry. Berry was not particularly fast but he ran precise routes and was an exceptionally sure handed receiver. By his own count Berry had 88 different moves to get open.

In the 1958 overtime championship game Berry caught twelve passes for 178 yards. He led the league in receptions and receiving yards three times, receiving touchdowns twice and total touchdowns once. Berry also won consecutive NFL championships with the Baltimore Colts. When he retired Berry held the NFL career record for receptions and receiving yards. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1973 and was a unanimous choice for the NFL 100th Anniversary All-Time Team.

Berry was the New England wide receivers coach for four seasons under Chuck Fairbanks and Ron Erhardt. He returned three years later on October 26, 1984 as the franchise’s ninth head coach, replacing Ron Meyer. 1985 was Berry’s first full season as head coach. It would turn out to be the best year to be a fan of the Patriots in the first four decades of the franchise.

Squish the Fish

Things didn’t seem special at all in the beginning of the season. The Pats were 2-3 and losing to winless Buffalo. Here Berry made a critical choice. He pulled Tony Eason after the first round draft pick threw two interceptions. The team rallied, playing more inspired football with Steve Grogan. The Patriots responded by winning six in a row to finish 11-5, clinching a playoff spot in the final game of the season.

Raymond Berry

The Pats then made NFL history by winning three playoff games on the road. The entire region was swept up by Patriots mania. Squish the Fish t-shirts and bumper stickers were everywhere. 18 consecutive losses at Miami came to an end with the Patriots pummeling the Dolphins at the Orange Bowl. It was the first time the Pats defeated the Dolphins in south Florida since Miami was an AFL expansion team.

Strange as it may sound now the Super Bowl was anticlimactic. The Patriots had won their Super Bowl by physically dominating the Dolphins in Miami. The Pats went 11-5 again in 1986, winning a division title for the first time in eight years. The Patriots had winning records in each of the next two seasons, but failed to make the playoffs. The Pats slid to a 5-11 record in 1989, leading to Chuck Sullivan firing Berry on February 26, 1990.

Raymond Berry is arguably the second best coach in Patriots history. He ranks second in playoff games and playoff victories, behind only Bill Belichick. He ranks third in gams coached and games won, behind Belichick and Mike Holovak. Only Belichick and Pete Carroll own a better winning percentage than Berry.

 

Chandler Jones

Happy 30th birthday to Chandler Jones
Born February 27, 1990; from Endicott, New York
Patriot DE, 2012-2015; uniform #95
Pats first round (21st overall) selection of the 2012 draft, from Syracuse

Chandler Jones played in 55 games with 52 starts over four seasons with the Patriots; he also started nine playoff games. While with New England he had 36 sacks, 222 tackles (134 solo), ten forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, nine passes defensed, one interception and a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown. Jones was named to the Pro Bowl in 2015. In Super Bowl 49 he had three tackles, a sack and one tackle for a loss.

Chandler Jones

The Pats sent Jones to the Cardinals in March of 2016 in exchange for Jonathan Cooper and a second round draft pick. That second was then traded for a third (Joe Thuney) and a fourth (Malcolm Mitchell) round pick. Despite the bizarre shirtless incident in front of the Foxboro police station in the midst of a playoff run, Arizona signed Jones to a 5-year, $82.5 million contract with $53 million guaranteed.

Jones has blossomed in Arizona, with 60 sacks in four seasons. He led the league in sacks (17) and tackles for a loss (28) in 2017, and forced fumbles (8) in 2019. That has led to Jones twice being named a first team All Pro and a contract restructuring resulting in more guaranteed money.

 

Garin Veris

Happy 57th birthday to Garin Veris
Born February 27, 1963 in Chillicothe, Ohio
Patriot DE, 1985-1991; uniform #60 and #90
Pats second round (48th overall) selection of the 1985 draft, from Stanford

Garin Veris made an immediate impact, registering 21 sacks in his first two NFL seasons. As a rookie he had three sacks and an interception in the 1985 26-14 wild card victory at New York. In 1989 Veris, Andre Tippett and Ronnie Lippett all suffered season-ending injuries in the final preseason game versus Green Bay, ruining the 1989 Patriots season. Garin recorded 36 sacks during his six healthy seasons with the Pats, including a team-high 11 in 1986.

Garin Veris

Veris played in 83 games for New England and is a member of the Patriots All-Decade Team of the 1980s. He has since worked as the athletic director of Haverhill High School, Director of Business Development and Marketing at UMass-Boston and AD at Mass. Maritime in Buzzards Bay.

 

Ron Erhardt

Happy birthday to Ron Erhardt, who would have been 88 today
Born February 27, 1932 in Mandan, North Dakota
Pats offensive backs coach, 1973-1976
Pats offensive coordinator, 1977-1978
Patriot Head Coach, 1979-1981

‘Fargo’ was one of those guys that was a great coordinator but not that great of a head coach. The Pats went 9-7 and 10-6 in his first two seasons at the helm. Then in 1981 the club found every way imaginable to lose close games, plummeting to a 2-14 record – despite scoring just 48 points fewer than they allowed. Erhardt won two super bowl championships as the offensive coordinator for the New York Giants under Bill Parcells and alongside Bill Belichick in 1986 and 1990. The ‘Erhardt-Perkins’ offensive philosophy is still to this day one of the the three primary strategies employed by NFL teams.

 

More Feb 27 Patriot birthdays

Happy 71st birthday to Ron Kadziel
Born February 27, 1949; from Glendora, California
Patriot LB, 1972; uniform #52
Signed as a free agent on March 8, 1972

Kadziel was a fifth round draft pick by Dallas in 1971. He played in all 14 games for the Pats in ’72 under John Mazur and Phil Bengtson. The Stanford graduate retired the following offseason and embarked on a career in the investment field. He has been a manager with First Western Capital in Utah since 1994.

 

Happy 50th birthday to David White
Born February 27, 1970; from New Orleans
Patriot LB, 1993; uniform #51
Waiver claim from Buffalo on August 31, 1993

David White split the 1993 season between the active roster and the practice squad for the Patriots, appearing in six games. He later returned to Buffalo for the ’95 and ’96 seasons, seeing action in 31 games with six starts.

 

Happy 41st birthday to Jace Sayler
Born February 27, 1979; from McHenry, Illinois
Patriot NT, 2001; uniform #94
Signed as an undrafted rookie from Michigan State on April 27, 2001

Jace Sayler survived roster cuts and started in week one of the 2001 season due to an injury to Richard Seymour. Sayler played the next week as well but a knee injury caused him to spend the remainder of the season on injured reserve. The Pats released Sayler the following February but he did earn a Super Bowl ring. After signing with Washington and then San Francisco he broke a bone in his back on a freak non-contact play that resulted in two surgeries. That forced Sayler to retire from pro football at the age of just 24.

 

Other 2/27 birthdays with a New England connection

Mike Kelley, 58 (1962)
Westfield MA
A third round pick by Houston in 1985, the offensive lineman from Notre Dame played with the Oilers until 1987.

George Sulima (1928-1987)
New Britain CT; Boston University
Pittsburgh drafted the end/defensive end in the third round of the 1951 draft. In 1954 Sulima had 30 receptions with the Steelers.

Ed Cody (1923-1994)
New Britain CT; Boston College
The fullback/linebacker was the 36th overall pick of the 1946 draft by Green Bay. Cody played for the Packers and Bears until 1950.

 

Today in Patriots History: Tom marries Gisele

John Morgan
February 26, 2020 at 5:50 am ET

Today in Patriots History
TB12 Ties The Knot​

February 26 marks the eleventh wedding anniversary for Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen. The lovebirds married on this date in 2009 in Santa Monica. Certainly a wise choice over Tara Reid.

Tom Brady and Giselle Bundchen

 

Patriots Fire Head Coach Raymond Berry

February 26, 1990
General Manager Chuck Sullivan fired Raymond Berry over ‘philosophical differences’. The previous season the Patriots went 5-11 with Berry serving as his own offensive coordinator. His assistant defensive coaches shared the duties of defensive coordinator, while Sullivan wanted Berry to name an OC and DC. Berry commented that ‘when he doesn’t agree with my decision, his job is to fire me’. He had a humorous response to a reporter’s question about what the philosophical differences that Sullivan alluded to. Berry’s response was ‘I never heard any talk among us about any problems with philosophy’.

At the time Berry was the winningest coach in franchise history, leading New England to a 51-41 record over five seasons. He coached the Patriots to their first post-merger title game after the Pats became the first team in NFL history to reach the Super Bowl by winning three playoff games on the road.

Everything went quickly downhill after that. An exposé on rampant drug use by the players immediately followed the humiliating blowout loss to the Bears. In 1986 the Pats were one and done, then missed the playoffs in each of the next three seasons. A drop in attendance had to have been a major factor in the decision, even if Sullivan never mentioned that fact.

Berry made a couple of interesting final comments. He stated that the Patriots were ‘a football team that’s in need of some new talent and some physical healing. Then the team could contend.’ But if those two needs were not met, ‘it’s not reasonable to expect them automatically to be contenders.’

The team failed to achieve either of those two requirements, resulting in four consecutive seasons with double-digit losses.

 

The Pride of Marshfield

Happy 44th birthday to Sean Morey
Born February 26, 1976 in Marshfield, MA
Patriot ST/WR, 1999-2001; uniform #85
Pats seventh round (241st overall) selection of the 1999 draft, from Brown

Boston College would not offer offer the south shore native a scholarship, leading to a giant chip on his shoulder that led to an 11-year pro football career. At Brown he set five Ivy League records, for career and single season receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, and career all-purpose yards. In 1999 the Patriots received a compensatory draft pick due to the loss of free agents Keith Byars and Sam Gash, and used that to select Morey.

Sean began 1999 on the practice squad, before being promoted to the active roster for the final four games. In February the Pats allocated Morey to NFL Europe with the Barcelona Dragons. Morey was waived at the end of the 2000 training camp and later that season rejoined the Patriots practice squad. The Patriots waived him one final time at the end of the 2001 training camp.

Morey overcame his lack of success with his hometown team and became a Pro Bowl special teamer, playing until age 33 in 2009. He played in 112 regular season games and 17 postseason games, winning a Super Bowl with the Steelers. Considering how Bill Belichick values special teams play more than any other NFL coach it is surprising that the one place things did not work out for Morey was in New England.

 

More February 26 Patriot Birthdays

Happy 49th birthday to Rick Lyle
Born February 26, 1971; from Kansas City, Missouri
Patriot DT, 2002-2003; uniform #96
Signed as a free agent on March 12, 2002

Rick Lyle was initially signed as an undrafted rookie from Missouri by Bill Belichick and the Cleveland Browns in 1994. Lyle played for Belichick again when BB was the defensive coordinator of the Jets, and then a third time when The Hoodie became head coach in New England. Lyle played in 21 games with three starts while with the Pats. He retired at the age of 33 after winning Super Bowl 38 as a member of the Pats. Since then he has worked as an assistant high school football coach and an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Jets and Browns.

Rick Lyle sacks Drew Bledsoe

 

Happy 29th birthday to Justin Green
Born February 26, 1991; from Louisville, Kentucky
Patriot CB, 2013-2015; uniform #41
Signed as an undrafted rookie from Illinois on July 21, 2013

Justin Green spent most of 2013 on the practice squad, seeing action in two games. During the 2014 preseason the Patriots traded Green to Dallas for defensive tackle Ben Bass. Green re-signed with the Pats late in 2014 and was on the practice squad when the Patriots defeated Seattle in Super Bowl 49. He remained with New England throughout the 2015 offseason prior to being waived by the Pats one final time at the start of the 2015 training camp. Green finished his pro football career in the Canadian Football League in 2016.

 

Happy 27th birthday to Kennard Backman
Born February 26, 1993 in Atlanta
Patriot TE, 2016 practice squad
Signed as a free agent on November 12, 2016

Kennard Backman had two short stints on the Pats practice squad but was never promoted to the 53-man roster. Originally a 2015 sixth round draft pick from UAB by Green Bay, he also spent time with Detroit. Backman appeared in eight NFL games, all for the Packers in 2015. He is the founder and executive director of Innovation Pros in Atlanta.

 

Other 2/26 birth dates with a New England connection

Bill Cooke, 69 (1951)
Born in Lowell; Worcester Academy; UConn and UMass-Amherst
Drafted by the Packers in 1975, the defensive tackle spent six seasons in the NFL.

 

John Nolan (1926-1996)
Holy Cross
Nolan was the 14th overall pick of the 1948 NFL Draft, by the Boston Yanks. The tackle never missed a single game in his three seasons of pro football.

John Nolan

Today in Patriots History: Jack Concannon

John Morgan
February 25, 2020 at 5:50 am ET

Jack Concannon highlights today in Patriots history. The Dorchester native was the Pats first selection in the 1964 AFL draft.

Local Gridiron Hero Turns Down Patriots​

Happy birthday to Jack Concannon, who would have been 77 today
Born Feb 25, 1943 in Boston
Patriots first round (first overall) selection of the 1964 draft, from Boston College

Jack Concannon was born in Boston and went to Matignon High School in Cambridge. The Boston Patriots were so enamored with the local gridiron hero that they traded up to the top of the draft for his rights. The Pats sent a third round pick together with their own first to Denver to move up three spots, past the Jets and Chiefs. Billy Sullivan surely felt the Boston College graduate would be a big ticket draw. Babe Parilli had just been named to the 1963 AFL All-Star Team but he would turn 34 before the next training camp opened. At BC Concannon was a double threat as a passer and runner. Sullivan viewed him as a worthy successor to Parilli and future face of the franchise. Even Cardinal Cushing urged Concannon to stay home and sign with the Patriots.

The Philadelphia Eagles also drafted Concannon, in the second round of the NFL draft. That occured only after team officials discovered at the last minute that the Pats had not yet signed Concannon. Sullivan operated the Patriots on a shoestring budget. As badly as he wanted Concannon he did not have deep enough pockets to compete in a bidding war with an NFL team. Concannon signed for a $25,000 bonus, new Thunderbird and a $50,000 salary with the Eagles – and as a result the Patriots had nothing to show for from two of their first three rounds of the draft.

Jack Concannon

 

Traded to the Bears

This article from the Chicago Tribune gives a very good look back at Concannon’s life and career: Jack Concannon 1943-2005

Jack Concannon, whom the Bears obtained in a 1967 trade for Mike Ditka, is remembered by former teammates as the fun-loving but frustrated quarterback who embodied the struggles of the last team George Halas coached and the four years of the Jim Dooley-coached teams.

Jack Concannon

1967: Bears trade Mike Ditka to Eagles for Jack Concannon | FS64 Sports

The 24-year-old Concannon was Philadelphia’s second-round draft choice out of Boston College in 1964. At 6’3” and 205 pounds, he was known for his flashy running ability as a quarterback in college and showed off the same form in the NFL – at least, on the rare occasions when he played. Backing up veteran QB Norm Snead (along with King Hill) as a rookie, he was given a late-season start against Dallas and passed for two touchdowns while also rushing for 99 yards in just 8 carries. It was enough to make him a fan favorite, but did not guarantee him more playing time.

After mostly sitting on the bench for the next two years, sometimes relieving at quarterback and occasionally returning punts, Concannon got two late-season starts in 1966 (as part of Head Coach Joe Kuharich’s odd three-man starting quarterback rotation), and they were wins. Against the Steelers, he set a club single-game rushing record for a quarterback with 129 yards that lasted until 2010.

Jack Concannon

 

More February 25 Birthdays

Happy 73rd birthday to Angelo Loukas
Born February 25, 1947; from Corinth, Greece
Patriot offensive lineman, 1969-1970; uniform #66

Angelo Loukas originally signed with Buffalo as an undrafted rookie from Northwestern in 1969. The Pats acquired Loukas late in the ’69 season and he played primarily on special teams in 1970.

 

Happy birthday to Steve Wilburn, who would have been 59 today
Born February 25, 1961; from Schaumburg, Illinois (1961-2005)
Patriot DE 1987; uniform #99

The Illinois State graduate appeared in all three 1987 replacement games for the Pats. He also played in the Canadian Football League from 1983 to 1990.

 

Happy 33rd birthday to Matt Kopa
Born February 25, 1987; from Elk Grove, California
Patriot OT, 2011-2012 practice squad
Signed as a free agent on September 5, 2011

Matt Kopa spent nearly two full seasons on the New England practice squad, but never made it to the gameday roster. He retired in 2013 following surgery to two ruptured discs. The Stanford graduate is now a Senior Mobile Product Marketing Manager for Channels and Platforms with Amazon.

 

February 25 Birthdays with a New England connection

Tom McHale (1963-2008)
Born in Boston
Tom played guard for Tampa, Philadelphia and Miami from 1987 to 1955. He later filled his dream of owning and operating his own restaurant. McHale died from an accidental overdose of OxyContin at the age of 45, and was the sixth former NFL player to be diagnosed post-mortem with CTE.

Steve Hammond, 60 (1960)
Born in Hartford
Linebacker from Wake Forest played in all three USFL seasons, then with the Jets in 1988.

Phil Vandersea, 77 (1943)
From Northbridge, Mass; UMass-Amherst
6’3, 245 pound linebacker and defensive end was a late draft pick by Green Bay in 1965. Phil was part of the Packers team that defeated Kansas City in the first AFL-NFL championship game, later known as Super Bowl I. After the NFL Vandersea worked in sales, as a teacher-coach in Bellingham and as an assistant coach at Holy Cross before being hired to work in the state Department of Corrections. He spent 20 years there, then retired.

Fran Mallick, 79 (1941)
After one year with the Steelers Fran played semi-pro football for five years in Hartford. From 1966-67 Mallick was a defensive end for the Hartford Charter Oaks in the Continental Football League. He spent the next three years with the Hartford Knights of the Atlantic Coast Football League, twice being named All-ACFL.

John Barrett (1899-1966)
Born and raised in Holyoke; Holyoke High School
Barrett was a center in the fledgling days of the National Football League. He played from 1924 to 1929 with now long defunct franchises: the Akron Pros, Detroit Panthers, Pottsville Maroons, and Detroit Wolverines.

 

Today in Patriots History: Marv Cook

John Morgan
February 24, 2020 at 5:50 am ET

For a few years Marv Cook was considered by some to be the best tight end in Patriots history. Cook thrived in spite of his quarterbacks being Marc Wilson, Hugh Millen, Tommy Hodson, Scott Zolak and Jeff Carlson. He set franchise records despite playing for head coaches Rod Rust and Dick MacPherson, and GMs Pat Sullivan, Joe Mendes and Tom Bass, not exactly known for filling a team with a quality complimentary roster.

Marv Cook

Happy 54th birthday to Marv Cook
Born February 24, 1966 in Iowa City
Patriot TE, 1989-1993; uniform #46 and #85
Pats third round (63rd overall) selection of the 1989 draft, from Iowa

Marv Cook never missed a game over five seasons with the Patriots. He led Pats in touchdowns in 1990 and 1991, and receptions (82) in ’91. Those 82 catches were fourth among all players in the NFL that year; no other tight end ranked in the top thirty. That also set a then-franchise record for most in a single season by a TE, shattering the old mark of 66 by Derrick Ramsey in 1984. That same year Cook tied a team record for most yards receiving by a tight end with 808, set by Don Hasselbeck ten years earlier.

Marv Cook

Cook was fearless going after the ball even though he was not particularly big (6’4, 234). His playmaking skills resulted in becoming a first team All Pro in 1991 and named to the Pro Bowl in ’91 and ’92. In 1992 Cook (and Irving Fryar) become the first players in club history with three straight seasons of 50 receptions. By comparison Russ Francis, Ben Watson and Hasselbeck never had a single season with that many catches for the Patriots – though to be fair, Francis was a far superior and more complete player on a run-oriented offense. In ’92 New England rewarded Cook for his production with a contract extension and pay raise.

Marv Cook

Parcells, Ben Coates and Drew Bledsoe

In 1993 Bill Parcells became head coach of the Patriots. Nagging injuries slowed Cook down, resulting in more playing time for third year backup Ben Coates. The on field rapport rookie quarterback Drew Bledsoe had with Coates was evident immediately. Midway through the season Tuna made Coates the primary tight end, and Cook finished the year with just one touchdown. Three days before the 1994 draft the Pats released Cook due to the emergence of Coates, and to clear salary cap space. Cook signed with the Bears and retired after the 1995 season. Meanwhile Coates went on to soon break all of Marv Cook’s franchise records.

Marv Cook finished his five years in New England with 210 receptions. At that time it was the sixth most in franchise history, and today it is still the third most by a tight end. He is now a partner in an investment firm and very successful high school football coach in his hometown of Iowa City.

 

Dennis Owens

Happy 60th birthday to Dennis Owens
Born February 24, 1960 in Clinton, NC
Patriot NT, 1982-1986; uniform #98
Signed May 13, 1982 as an undrafted rookie from North Carolina State

Dennis Owens grew up in a small hog farming town that produced several pro football players. He was a roster surprise as the only undrafted rookie to survive training camp cuts in 1982. That year he backed up Lester Williams and rotated in as a fourth defensive lineman. At the start of the following season Owens replaced Williams in the starting lineup. Owens had four sacks in ’83 and was second on the team with 6.5 in ’84. He was often a disruptive force collapsing the pocket, allowing Andre Tippett to come in from the outside and cause havoc. Owens had two sacks on Jim McMahon in Super Bowl 20 against Chicago. The Pats waived Owens on September 8, 1987 in order to get down to the 45-player roster limit – just a month after signing him to a two year contract extension.

 

Three other Patriots born on this date

Happy 74th birthday to Art McMahon
Born February 24, 1946; from Carteret, New Jersey
Patriot safety, 1968-1972; uniform #28
Pats 15th round (385th overall) selection of the 1968 draft, from North Carolina State

Art McMahon overcame long odds to make the roster and had two interceptions as a rookie. He was known for his bone jarring hits and worked his way into the starting lineup over the last half of that season. Back injuries caused him to miss half of the 1970 season and all of 1971. McMahon returned for the entire 1972 season, then played briefly in the WFL. Overall McMahon played in 43 games for the Patriots, with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

During the Patriot offseasons McMahon worked in personnel and industrial relations for Raytheon. Over the years he has held senior management positions as a human resource director for various high tech companies in the Boston area.

Art McMahon

 

Happy 30th birthday to Dwayne Allen
Born February 24, 1990; from Fayetteville, North Carolina
Patriot TE, 2017-2018; uniform #83
Acquired in trade with Colts on March 9, 2017

The Patriots received Dwayne Allen and a sixth round draft pick in exchange for the Pats fourth round pick prior to the 2017 draft. He was a starter with Indianapolis since his 2012 rookie season, scoring eight touchdowns in 2014 and six in 2016. Allen was a good blocker but never came anywhere close to that production for New England. In 2017 Allen had just ten receptions on 22 pass targets, with one touchdown. Then in 2018 his numbers somehow decreased, to a miniscule three catches for 27 yards – ranking Allen 12th on the team in both categories.

Dwayne Allen

 

Happy 68th birthday to Chuck Ramsey
Born February 24, 1952 in Rock Hill, South Carolina
Pats sixth round (141st overall) selection of the 1974 draft, from Wake Forest

The punter did not survive training camp cuts, and then spent two years in the World Football League. After the WFL closed their doors he returned to the NFL with the Jets from 1977 to 1984.

 

More NFL players born on this date with a New England connection

Jordan Todman, 30 (1990)
Dartmouth, Mass; UConn
The running back played in the NFL from 2011-2017, primarily with Jacksonville.

Tom Hogan (1895-1937)
Holyoke, Mass
NFL Lineman played for three seasons in the twenties.

Joe Sabasteanski (1921-1972)
Portland, Maine
Offensive lineman and linebacker played for three seasons after WWII, including two with the Boston Yanks.

 

Today in Patriots History: Jerod Mayo

John Morgan
February 23, 2020 at 5:50 am ET

Jerod Mayo headlines a group of seven former Patriots sharing a February 23rd birthday.

 

Jerod Mayo

Happy 34th birthday to Jerod Mayo
Born Feb 23, 1986 in Hampton, Virginia
Patriot MLB, 2008-2015; uniform #51
Pats first round (10th overall) selection of the 2008 draft, from Tennessee

Jerod Mayo was team captain for seven consecutive seasons. The defensive play caller appeared in 111 games, all with the Patriots. He was the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2008 and an All Pro two years later when he led the NFL in tackles. Mayo ranks eighth in franchise history in tackles, tenth in fumble recoveries, 11th in tackles for a loss and fourth in passes defensed by a linebacker.

Three consecutive seasons ending on IR resulted in Mayo’s decision to retire from football. He was then hired by Optum, the technology division of UnitedHealth. In 2019 the Patriots the Patriots lured Mayo back to football as their inside linebackers coach.

 

Jonathan Wilhite

Happy 36th birthday to Jonathan Wilhite
Born February 23, 1984 in Monroe, Louisiana
Patriot CB, 2008-2010; uniform #24
Pats fourth round selection of the 2008 draft, from Auburn

The 5’9, 183 pound corner played in 39 games with 13 starts over three seasons with the Pats. Wilhite had three interceptions and nine pass deflections with New England. He was unable to crack the starting lineup during his tenure with the Patriots despite constant turnover. As a rookie Wilhite watched Deltha O’Neal and Ellis Hobbs start, and in year two it was Shawn Springs and Leigh Bodden. Then in 2010 Wilhite was surpassed on the depth chart by Devin McCourty, Kyle Arrington and Darius Butler. He was waived at the end of training camp in 2011.

In 2009 Wilhite pulled a groin muscle in a rather odd manner. North Attleboro police reported that Wilhite came home and two people in his parking lot approached him and began yelling at him. Wilhite ran away to a Cumberland Farms store to call police, with the sprint resulting in the bizarre injury.

 

Vincent Valentine

Happy 26th birthday to Vincent Valentine
Born February 23, 1994; from Edwardsville, Illinois
Patriot DT, 2016-2018; uniform #99
Pats third round (96th overall) selection of the 2016 draft, from Nebraska

Vincent Valentine showed some promise as a rookie. He was part of the standard rotation as a run stopping specialist, appearing in 13 games while on the field for 28% of the defensive snaps. Valentine suffered a knee injury and spent nearly all of 2017 on injured reserve. He failed to make the roster in 2018, relegated to starting the season on the practice squad. A month later the Patriots released Valentine and he has played in just three NFL games since.

Vincent Valentine

 

Cups of Coffee

Happy 69th birthday to Dave McCurry
Born February 23, 1951 in Grinnell, Iowa
Patriot defensive back, 1974; Uniform #40

Dave McCurry was one of the last two-way players in college football. Miami drafted the Iowa State alum in the fifth round of the 1973 draft. McCurry spent most of the 1974 season on injured reserve, appearing in two games with the Patriots.

 

Happy 34th birthday to Bear Pascoe
Born February 23, 1986; from Porterville, California
Patriot TE, 2016 offseason; uniform #83
Signed as a free agent on July 27, 2016

Come on, who didn’t root for a tight end named Bear? McKenna Sean Pascoe was a seven year veteran when he signed with the Patriots. Unfortunately the 6’5 Fresno State alum was unable to impress over Matt Lengel, Cameron Fleming and Martellus Bennett as a backup to Rob Gronkowski. Foxboro was the final stop of his NFL career when Pascoe was cut on August 22, 2016. At least he has a ‘Fairlea Wicked’ horse.

Bear Pascoe

 

Happy 30th birthday to Kevin Dorsey
Born February 23, 1990; from District Heights, Maryland
Patriot WR, 2015 offseason
Signed as a free agent on March 11, 2015

Kevin Dorsey had spent two years in the Green Bay Packers organization before coming to Foxborough. The wide receiver from Maryland did not make it to the start of training camp, released on May 9.

 

This Guy Too

John Stephens, 1996-2009
Springhill, Louisiana
Patriot RB, 1988-1992; uniform #44
Pats first round (17th overall) selection of the 1988 draft, from NW Louisiana State

Stephens was the 1988 Offensive Rookie of the Year when he rushed for 1,168 yards. He ran for over 800 yards in each of the next two seasons before Leonard Russell replaced him as the lead tailback. Stephens rushed for 3,440 yards and scored 19 touchdowns in five seasons with the Pats.

In 1994 Stephens plead guilty to rape charges in Kansas City, but was only placed on probation. He was awaiting trial in 2009 for another sexual assault and facing up to 80 years in jail. Stephens lost control of his pickup truck on a back road, crashed into trees and died, avoiding that ignominy. His daughter Sloane is a professional tennis player who won the 2017 US Open and was once ranked number three on the tour.

Today in Patriots History: Larry Eisenhauer

John Morgan
February 22, 2020 at 5:50 am ET

Larry Eisenhauer was not only one of the greatest players in Patriots history, he was also one of the greatest characters in the history of pro football. The Wild Man and Shawn Jefferson headline February 22 in Pats history.

Today in Patriots History
Larry Eisenhauer

Happy birthday to Larry “Wild Man” Eisenhauer, who would have been 80 today
Born February 22, 1940 in Hicksville, NY
Patriot RDE, 1961-1969; uniform #72
Pats sixth round (42d overall) selection of the 1961 AFL draft, from Boston College

Larry Eisenhauer played pro football for nine years, all with the Boston Patriots. He never missed a game until his seventh season when knee injuries sidelined him for a few weeks. Eisenhauer was a four time AFL All-Star, named first team All Pro three times, and a member of the All-AFL Anniversary Team. Eisenhauer, Bob Dee, Houston Antwine and Jim Lee Hunt teamed for a ferocious front four. Their tenacious play resulted in the Patriot defense being the best in the league from 1963 to 1966.

Larry Eisenhauer

Eisenhauer totaled 47½ career sacks, leading the team in that category for four straight seasons (1962-65). He was named to the Patriots 1960s All-Decade Team in 1971, the Patriots 35th Anniversary Team, and inducted into the Boston College Varsity Club Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978. After retiring in 1970 he became owner and operator of Data Metal Company, a computer hardware business in Boston.

The Wild Man

Nicknamed the ‘Wild Man’, Larry Eisenhauer would psyche himself up before games by smashing walls and destroying lockers. He knocked five opposing quarterbacks out of the game with injuries, and once ran onto the field during a snowstorm in Kansas City dressed in nothing but a helmet and jock strap.

Billy Sullivan was always seeking free publicity and one day had Rex Trailer of the local Boomtown show film a promo. The slow sidekick named Pablo put on a uniform and was supposed to run through the Pats defense and score a touchdown. Just before the end zone Eisenhauer shocked everyone by leveling Pablo. He stood over the shocked and dazed actor and screamed “Nobody gets across our goal line! Not even a clown!

Larry Eisenhauer

In 1963 the Patriots were in San Diego for the AFL title game. The Stardust Hotel had a rooftop bar next to a pool.  It featured a show with women dressed up as mermaids performing synchronized swimming beneath the surface, in front of windows one floor below. Eisenhauer and his father were enjoying a few cocktails when the program began. They decided to take a dip but had no bathing suits. No problem, they simply dropped their drawers and jumped in, enjoying the refreshing water. This obviously disrupted the show – much to the delight of several teammates and other bar patrons who were watching downstairs. Unfortunately this was long before cell phone videos, because we would all really enjoy being able to watch that.

Inexplicably Eisenhauer is not a member of the Patriots Hall of Fame. It is unfortunate that he will join Jim Nance, Leon Gray and Houston Antwine as players that eventually received that honor too late to enjoy it. Larry Eisenhauer passed away last month on January 20 at the age of 79.

Tom Addison, Bob Dee, Larry Eisenhauer

 

Shawn Jefferson

Happy 51st birthday to Shawn Jefferson
Born February 22, 1969 in Jacksonville, Florida
Patriot WR, 1996-1999; uniform #84
Signed as a veteran free agent on March 14, 1996

Shawn Jefferson was a ninth round pick by the Oilers in 1991, from Central Florida. Houston traded him to San Diego prior to the start of the season, where he played sparingly before becoming a starter in 1994. The Pats signed him to what was big free agent money in ’96: a four-year, $6.4 million deal that included a $1.4 million signing bonus. Jefferson only missed one game in four seasons with the Pats. He led the team in receiving yards in ’97, in receiving touchdowns in ’99, and had a league-best 22.7 yards per reception in 1998.

Jefferson also had 24 receptions for 284 yards in six playoff games. In the 1997 postseason game against Pittsburgh he was at his best, with nine catches for 104 yards. Jefferson spent twelve seasons in the NFL, with 470 receptions for 7,023 yards.

His status on the Patriots all time leader board is quite impressive when you consider the fact that he was with New England for only four years, and played before Bill Polian tinkered with the rule book. Jefferson’s 3,081 yards receiving was eighth in franchise history when he departed after the 1999 season (it ranks 18th now). His 178 receptions was 15th most at that time (now 25th) and the 14 touchdown catches were also 15th (now 27th). Since 2006 Jefferson has worked in the NFL as a wide receivers coach, for the Lions, Titans, Dolphins and now Jets.

Fast forward to the final two minutes of the game for the Shawn Jefferson highlight reel below.

 

More February 22 Birthdays

Happy 49th birthday to Max Lane
Born February 22, 1971 in Norbone, Missouri
Patriot RT/LG, 1994-2000; uniform #68
Pats sixth round (168th overall) selection of the 1994 draft, from Navy

Max lane spent his entire NFL career with the Patriots, playing in 107 games. He was a versatile lineman, starting at right tackle, left guard and right guard over seven seasons. Lane was given a five-year contract worth $11 million in 1998, after having been paid $200,000 the previous year. In missed four games early with a broken thumb and then went on IR after a week 11 leg injury. The salary, age and injuries all led to his being released on May 4, 2001 as part of Bill Belichick’s house cleaning.

Unfortunately Max Lane is probably most well remembered for being overwhelmed by Reggie White in the second half of Super Bowl 31 versus Green Bay – something that gnawed at Lane’s psyche for years. Lane has been a volunteer coach at Georgetown High School in recent years. He works for Crown Mortgage and helps raise money to aid research for tubular myopathy.

 

Happy 37th birthday to Antwain Spann
Born February 22, 1983 in Oceanside, California
Patriot safety, 2006-2008; uniform #31 and #28
Signed to the practice squad on January 2, 2006

Antwain Spann appeared in 22 games for the Patriots over three seasons. He was primarily used on special teams, often bouncing between the practice squad and active roster. Spann also played in all three 2006 postseason games. He was originally signed as an undrafted rookie from Louisiana-Lafayette by the Giants in 2005.

Saving the best for last

I would be remiss if this important historic event were not included as well.

February 22, 2019:
The world finds out about Robert Kraft’s happy ending at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter, Florida. The 77-year old billionaire was charged with two counts of soliciting prostitution that law enforcement uncovered as part of a sex trafficking investigation. Things are looking up for Bob now though, as he has moved on from a girlfriend young enough to be his granddaughter to one that is only about thirty years younger than he is.

Today in Pats History: Original Patriot Walt Cudzik

John Morgan
February 21, 2020 at 5:50 am ET

Today in Pats History
Original Patriot Walt Cudzik​

Happy birthday to Walt Cudzik, who would have been 88 today
Born February 21, 1932; from Chicago (1932-2005)
Patriot center, 1960-1963; uniform #54

Walt Cudzik joined the Patriots in their inaugural season and played in every game from 1960 to 1963. That includes the Pats first postseason game when the team defeated Buffalo for the AFL East title as well as the 1963 AFL Championship Game versus San Diego. Walt was named to the UPI 1st Team All-AFL in 1960 and was the Pats offensive team captain in 1963.

Walt Cudzik

By 1964 competition for rookies had heated up between the AFL and NFL. Holy Cross center Jon Morris was drafted by both Boston and Green Bay. The All American quickly rejected Vince Lombardi’s initial contract due to its meager salary, calling it ‘a joke’. Mike Holovak responded with a superior two-year no-cut deal that included a new Pontiac convertible. The Packers matched that offer, then Holovak guaranteed Morris he would start at center from day one. Lombardi refused to match those terms, and Morris signed with the Patriots.

Shuffled off to Buffalo

As a result the Patriots had one too many starting centers on the roster. Therefore Holovak traded 32 year old Walt Kudzik without concern that he would start for a division rival and contender. In the long run the move worked out fine. Morris had a career that put him on the AFL All-Time Team and the Pats Hall of Fame. The short term outcome was different.

The 1964 AFL East title came down to the final game of the regular season. The Chargers were not nearly as good as they were the previous season. This meant that single game between the Pats and Bills would likely determine the ’64 league champion. Cudzik centered a Buffalo offense that was the best in the league in ’64. The Bills came out on fire and beat the Patriots, then took care of business a week later against San Diego. Ten years after he began playing professional football Walt Cudzik was an important part of a championship team. That would be his final game of pro football.

Following his football career Walt Cudzik earned a law degree, and practiced as an attorney until his retirement in 2002.

 

Before proceeding to the remainder of today’s birthdays it should be noted that on February 21, 2008 the Patriots promoted wide receivers coach Nick Caserio to the position of Director of Player Personnel.

Terry Allen

Happy 52nd birthday to Terry Allen
Born February 21, 1968 in Commerce, Georgia
Patriot RB, 1999; uniform #22
Signed to a two-year contract on August 27, 1999

The Patriots were in dire straits at running back in 1999. One year earlier Curtis Edwards had departed for greener pastures with the Jets. Robert Edwards had a spectacular rookie season, then had a freak life threatening injury playing volleyball at a Pro Bowl event. That left them with career backups Lamont Warren and Jerry Ellison and an untested 5’8, 197-pound rookie named Kevin Faulk to carry the ball.

Terry Allen vaulted from a ninth round pick in 1990 to Herschel Walker’s replacement two years later in Minnesota, with 15 touchdowns. From 1995-96 Allen had 3,088 yards from scrimmage and scored 32 touchdowns with Washington. Due to overuse – he had 748 touches in those two seasons – his body wore out. Ankle injuries limited Allen to 20 games in the two seasons prior to arriving in Foxboro, with six rushing touchdowns.

Terry Allen

Allen played in all sixteen games with thirteen starts in 1999, averaging a career low 3.5 yards per carry. One of Bill Belichick’s first personnel decisions was to move on, releasing Terry Allen. The Clemson running back hung on for two more years, finishing his NFL career with 10,215 yards from scrimmage and 79 touchdowns. The last information I found on him was fleeing a DUI police chase in 2018.

 

More February 21 Birthdays

Happy 50th birthday to Will Moore
Born February 21, 1970 in Dallas
Patriot WR, 1995-1996; uniform #83

Bill Parcells signed Moore after spending three seasons with the CFL’s Calgary Stampeders. In ’95 Moore had 43 receptions for 502 yards and one touchdown.

 

Happy 31st birthday to Brian Tyms
Born February 21, 1989 in Kent, Washington
Patriot WR, 2014; uniform #84
Signed as a free agent on July 27, 2014

The Patriots felt strongly enough about Brian Tyms that they signed him despite knowing he would soon be suspended for four games for PEDs. In eleven games for the Pats Tyms had five receptions and one touchdown. He received a ring from Super Bowl 49 then spent 2015 on IR. Tyms then spent two years in the CFL and two in the AAF before they went out of existence.

Video: Tom Brady to Brian Tyms 43 yard TD vs Buffalo

 

Happy 31st birthday to Jake Bequette
Born February 21, 1989 in Little Rock
Patriot DE, 2012-2014; uniform #92
Pats 3rd round (90th overall) selection of the 2012 draft, from Arkansas

Bequette spent more time on the practice squad than on the 53-man roster, appearing in only 8 games over three seasons. He was released with an injury settlement on September 4, 2015. Bequette then joined the Army and is now a 2nd Lieutenant in the infantry. Jake earned a ring with the Pats from Super Bowl 49 versus Seattle.

Jake Bequette

Catching up with Former Razorback Jake Bequette

 

Happy 58th birthday to Chuck McSwain
Born February 21, 1961 in Polk County, NC
Patriot RB/KR, 1987; uniform #32

Chuck McSwain was a replacement player for three games during the strike in ’87. His brother Rod played safety for the Patriots from 1984-1990.

 

Cierre Wood
Born February 21, 1991 in Oxnard, California
Patriot RB, 2013; uniform #32

Due to his abhorrent actions there is no bio here. Two games, no stats, move on.

 

Two other pro football players born on this date with a New England connection

Sandro Vitiello, 62 (2/21/58)
University of Massachusetts
The Italian born kicker played for the Bengals in 1980. From 1988 to 2014 Vitiello was an executive with Regent Sports, a major supplier of products for Walmart. He is now the president of VMN Global in New York.

Ken Huff, 66 (2/21/53)
Deerfield Academy
Spent eleven seasons at guard for Baltimore and Washington, appearing in 145 games from 1975-1985.

 

60th Anniversary to the naming of the Boston ‘Patriots’

John Morgan
February 20, 2020 at 5:50 am ET

February 20 marks the 60th anniversary of the then newly formed Boston professional football team being officially named the Patriots.

Billy Sullivan’s third hire after being awarded the franchise was old friend Jack Grinold. His first duty was to come up with a name for the club. Sullivan recognized the bonus of an opportunity for free publicity. Grinold spread the word of a fan contest to determine the name.

Nominees included the Puritans, Colonials, Hubs, Pilgrims, Beantowners and Braves. The three finalists were Bulls, Minutemen and Patriots. The 74 people who voted for Patriots won tickets to a home game. Grinold and Sullivan squeezed a bit more PR out of the task. They convinced assistant superintendent of Boston public schools Bill Ohrnberger to become involved. He organized a 100 word essay contest where students wrote what the team name should be and why. According to some books a nineteen year old from Lynn named Penny Smith penned the winning composition. Other sources contradict that theory, with evidence declaring Frederick Crosdale of Stoneham the victor.

Boston Patriots

Frederick Crosdale

On the same day as the name reveal the Patriots announced the team colors. Fittingly the choice was red, white and blue.

Boston Patriots helmetPatriots tricorner helmet

Hotel Kenmore ad

The article below is incredibly condescending, especially with the snarky comment about watching the Giants.

Boston Patriots name team

 

Chris Singleton

Happy 53rd birthday to Chris Singleton
Born February 20, 1967 in Omaha
Patriot OLB, 1990-1993; uniform #55
Pats first round (8th overall) selection of the 1990 draft, from Arizona

Singleton was part of a very infamous Patriot draft trade, this one happening on April 22, 1990. With the first two draft picks the Colts took QB Jeff George, and the Jets selected RB Blair Thomas. Next up was the Patriots, with the third overall pick.

The Pats traded away that number three overall pick, as well as their second round (29th overall) to Seattle. In return New England received the #8 and #10 first round picks, as well as a third round (#64) and fourth (#101).

At first glance it doesn’t look bad at all, getting two top ten picks. The problem is that Seattle got Hall of Fame DT Cortez Kennedy at number three, while the Pats used their picks on Singleton, Ray Agnew, traded down the third rounder for Greg McMurtry, and used another pick on a guy who never played a down in the NFL.

Chris Singleton

Below are some interesting columns on Singleton.

9/25/95 – Chris Singleton a study in Brotherly Love | Sports Illustrated

Chris, meanwhile, was drafted in the first round by the New England Patriots. When he made his first visit to Boston, just after the draft, no one from the Patriot organization met him at Logan Airport. He took a shuttle bus to his hotel, but there wasn’t a reservation in his name.

On the field Singleton felt even less at home. In 3½ seasons he played for three different coaches and never registered more than 60 tackles a year. Bill Parcells, who took over as Patriot coach in 1993, didn’t feel Singleton fit into his defensive system and waived him before the year was out.​

This article below is fascinating not just for the Singleton piece, but for all the other players profiled:

4/29/15 – The Class of ’90 – Where are they now ? | New York Times

But underneath the veneer of his seemingly normal life was a former N.F.L. player struggling to adapt to the loss of the big paychecks, the adulation of the fans and the camaraderie of his teammates, and the chance to play a game he loved.​

Unable to cope with that psychological loss — which was compounded by throbbing physical injuries, including four screws in his damaged ankle — he drank, cheated on his wife, divorced, spent his savings, declared bankruptcy, stopped exercising and gained a lot of weight. Then, last August, he tried to kill himself.

Out of despair, hope arrived.

Chris Singleton played in 41 games with 26 starts for the Patriots. He made 126 tackles with four sacks, then spent four seasons with the Dolphins.

 

More February 20 Birthdays

Happy 57th birthday to John Washington
Born February 20, 1963 in Houston
Patriot DE, 1993; uniform #76
Signed as a veteran free agent on March 6, 1993

John Washington spent most of his NFL career with the Giants. When Bill Parcells became the Pats head coach the 30 year old followed Tuna to Foxboro. Washington played in all 16 games that season, with 13 starts. A two-time Super Bowl champion, the Oklahoma State product played in 123 NFL games.

 

Happy 53rd birthday to Patrick Egu
Born February 20, 1967 in Owerri, Nigeria
Patriot RB, 1989; uniform #33
Signed to the developmental squad on September 14, 1989

Egu was originally a 9th round pick by the Bucs. He played in seven games for the Pats with two kickoff returns and three carries for 20 yards. His lone NFL touchdown came on a 15 yard run versus Buffalo on November 19, 1989, giving the Pats a 13-10 lead. The Patriots went on to upset Marv Levy’s Bills that day 33-24.

 

Happy 55th birthday to Brian Hutson
Born February 20, 1965 in Jackson, Mississippi
Patriot safety, 1990; uniform #36
Signed as a free agent on April 25, 1990

Brian Hutson played two games for the Pats in 1990; he now runs an office furniture company in Dallas.

 

Other 2/20 birthdays with a New England connection

Tom Waddle, 53 (1967)
Boston College
The sure handed wide receiver caught 173 passes and nine touchdowns for the Bears from 1989 to 1994. He has since worked on television and radio in Chicago, and is married to Gino Cappelletti’s oldest daughter, Cara.

Tom Waddle and family

Isaac Yiadom, 24 (1996)
Worcester MA; Boston College
Current starting cornerback for Denver was a third round pick by the Broncos in 2018.

Hec Garvey (1900-1973)
Holyoke High School
Offensive lineman had a ten year NFL career, including stints with the Hartford Blues and Providence Steam Roller.

Today in Patriots History: Billy Johnson

John Morgan
February 19, 2020 at 5:50 am ET

Billy Johnson is a player unfamiliar to most fans of the Patriots. That obscurity is unfortunately better than his side of the story. Johnson is one of many former players who are unfamiliar with their daily surroundings. Alzheimer’s robbed him of his memory. The toll of concussions and CTE pay an unforgiving price for these men and loved ones left to care for them.

Happy 77th birthday to Billy Johnson
Born February 19, 1943 in Stanton, Nebraska
Patriots safety, 1966-1970; uniform #47

The hard hitter was a rover back on three major Nebraska Cornhuskers bowl teams. Mike Holovak said Johnson “loves to tackle, and pound for pound is one of the best hitters in the league”. Four injuries (cheek, eye, knee and leg) limited Johnson to six games in 1967. He returned and had a big day in crucial late season game against Houston. Johnson returned five punts for 126 yards, including returns of 52 and 36 yards setting up scores. The 18-7 victory pulled the Pats within 1½ games of the eventual division champion Oilers and earned Johnson the game ball for his role.

Concussion awareness in that era was nearly non-existent. Johnson has lost much of himself to Alzheimer’s. He is participating in a concussion study at Boston University and has also pledged his brain for research. His wife Terri states “he is childlike now” and that she feels as though “I’ve lost my partner”.

 

Other February 19 Patriot birthdays

Happy 42nd birthday to Chidi Iwuoma
Born February 19, 1978; from Pasadena, California
Patriot CB, 2006; uniform #29
Signed as a free agent on October 4, 2006

Bill Belichick signed Chidi Iwuoma for his special teams play and depth to an injury depleted secondary. The Cal-Berkeley product had 80 career special team tackles, including 19 in 2005 as a co-captain for Pittsburgh. Six years of that play had slowed down the 5-foot-9-inch, 184-pound defensive back by the time he arrived in Foxboro. The Pats cut Iwuoma just four weeks later despite making two more ST tackles. He now works as a scout with the Steelers.

 

Happy 71st birthday to Clark Hoss
Born February 1949 in Portland, Oregon
Patriot TE, 1972 offseason
Pats seventh round (165th overall) selection of the 1972 draft, from Oregon State

The Patriots traded the 6’8 Hoss to Cleveland on July 31, 1972. He spent two seasons with the Eagles and one in the WFL. Clark Hoss then went back to his alma mater where he had graduated nine years earlier. From 1976 to 2013 Clark Hoss taught social studies and coached football and basketball at West Linn High School in Oregon. He and his wife now operate a beautiful bed and breakfast in northwestern wine country.

Clark Hoss

 

More players born on this date with a New England connection

Dwight Freeney, 40 (1980)
Born in Hartford; from Bloomfield, Connecticut
The seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end was the 11th overall pick of the 2002 draft by the Colts, from Syracuse. Freeney had 125.5 sacks and 128 tackles for a loss over his 16 year career.

Anthony Firkser, 25 (1995)
Harvard
Tennessee just re-signed the exclusive rights free agent. The tight end has 33 receptions and two touchdowns in two seasons with the Titans.

Jim Crocicchia, 56 (1964)
Waterbury, Connecticut
Jim was a replacement quarterback during the 1987 strike for the Giants. He also spent one season in the Arena Football League.

Tony Manfreda (1904-1988)
Born in Meriden, CT; Sanborn Seminary in Kingston, NH; Holy Cross
The halfback played briefly with the Newark Tornadoes, who finished the 1930 NFL season with a record of 1-10-1. He holds the Holy Cross record for longest kickoff return from a 1929 game between the Crusaders and Boston University.