Tag Archives: Bill Parcells

Patriots Select WR N’Keal Harry in Round One

Ian Logue
April 26, 2019 at 12:27 am ET

It was nearly midnight by the time the Patriots made their selection during round one of the 2019 NFL Draft and Bill Belichick, as usual, made it interesting.

With the 32nd overall pick, the Patriots selected a wide receiver, taking Arizona State standout N’Keal Harry to close out the first round Thursday night. Harry is a big target. He’s 6’2″, 228 pounds, which would give Tom Brady a big young target who with his size is a great addition. He’s an inch taller than Malcolm Mitchell, who was the last early round selection they grabbed back in round four back in 2016. Mitchell was 6’1″, 200-pounds and had a solid rookie season before injuries ultimately spoiled his seemingly promising career.

The fact Belichick made the move is telling, with the team clearly trying to inject some youth and talent into the offense after losing Rob Gronkowski to retirement this offseason. Harry’s addition now gives the Patriots some speed, with the rookie having run a 4.53 40-yard dash during the NFL combine.

But one of the things that has stood out in his scouting reports is the fact he’s a strong kid, coming away on the right side of quite a few contested passes during his collegiate career, as well as the ability to break tackles and be elusive once he has the ball in his hands. He’s also got terrific quickness, which as we know from players like Julian Edelman, is certainly an an attribute that is key in this offense.

It was the first time the Patriots had taken a receiver in the first round since 1996 when the team selected Terry Glenn back during then Patriots head coach, Bill Parcells, tenure. Parcells was reportedly against the selection after then general manager Bobby Grier and owner Robert Kraft overruled Parcells on the pick for Glenn and it sparked the end of Parcells’ tenure.

The move worked out well for the Patriots, who went on to finish 11-5 that season and earn their first Super Bowl appearance since 1986 that season, which ultimately ended with a loss to the Green Bay Packers. Parcells then departed to the New York Jets that offseason.

Needless to say, it’s an interesting pick and one that fans can hope will make an early impact this season. The last time a young player made a difference in the offense, the season ended with a Super Bowl championship. While it’s a little early to think that far ahead, it doesn’t change the fact that Harry’s selection will likely add a little more optimism looking at New England’s offense heading into the 2019 season.

Looking for a Gift for the Patriots Fan That Has Everything?

Steve Balestrieri
April 19, 2019 at 7:54 am ET

We all know that New England Patriots fans are avid about having the latest and best shirts, hats, videos etc.that have to do about the team, the Super Bowl wins and the on-going dynasty for the past two decades.  

And if you’re looking for a gift for that person who has just about everything Patriots-related then this book is just for you. A company called “In-the-Book” has compiled a history of the Patriots told thru articles in the Washington Post.

It is a very nicely done, hardbound cover history of the team. Some of the earlier articles, taken from the Post’s archives don’t have the clarity of the more recent pieces but reading a story about the 1960 team where Butch Songin led the Pats to a 38-21 victory over the New York Titans right next to ads that are selling brand new snow tires for $12.77 a piece or a car lot selling brand new imports for $1500 is interesting to see how things truly have changed.

There are articles, pictures, and box scores from many of the games that… if you were even around back then, you’d long forgotten about but then a glance at the piece or box score will bring back a flood of memories. Some good, some not-so-good. But that represents a true history of this franchise.

The company had reached out to us and sent us a copy for our review, and will even publish a dedication inside to someone. For our purposes, I figured that it would be best served by giving it to a young fan who would appreciate the history and have something to keep and use for reference. So, I dedicated our copy to Brady Goldman, our colleague Russ’ son. He’s gotten big into the team the past few years as he’s grown up and now can’t get enough.

This would be a perfect gift for those like him or that older fan who has everything and will present a good look at the days of yore.  

You can order one here by clicking on the link:

The company has excellent customer service personnel who will be very helpful if you have any questions and is a great keepsake for the Patriots fan who would like a beautifully done book that can be passed on to the next generation of fans.

Personalized inscription
Headlines from the ’80s


Latest SB win

ESPN Releases Trailer For Upcoming 30 for 30 On Belichick and Parcells

Robert Alvarez
November 11, 2017 at 10:17 am ET

ESPN unveiled the first trailer for its latest documentary in its “30 for 30” TV series this week entitled “The Two Bills”, which focuses on the relationship between coaching legends Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick over the course of their NFL careers working together and apart.

Before being an accomplished head coach in New England, Belichick gained most of his coaching experience from Parcells while working under him as a assistant coach and defensive coordinator with the Giants (1979-1990), defensive backs coach with the Patriots (1996) and Jets defensive coordinator (1997-1999). Belichick won his first two Super Bowl rings with Parcells and the Giants in 1986 and 1990.

The film will also feature the drama that surrounded Belichick’s hiring in New England and the toll it had on his friendship with Parcells.

Following the 1999 season, Parcells stepped down from the Jets head coach position expecting Belichick to take over. Instead, Belichick stunned the football world by resigning as Jets head coach after just one day on the job. He would take over as head coach of the Patriots instead for the 2000 season.

Parcells claimed that Belichick was still under contract to the Jets, and immediately demanded compensation from the Patriots. Then NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue agreed with the complaint, and the Patriots gave the Jets a first-round draft pick in 2000 in exchange for the right to hire Belichick.

“The Two Bills” will also feature a rare interview with both coaches together in the same room along with notable special guests such as Patriots owner Robert Kraft, former NFL coordinator and Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis, former Giants linebacker Harry Carson and Pro Football Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor.

Patriots History: March 21 Birthdays

John Morgan
March 21, 2017 at 7:28 pm ET

It is a long slow off-season so let us commemorate the history of the Patriots’ franchise with birthday salutes. Today’s entries dig deep into the archives. Kudos if you remember the majority of these players.

 

Clyde Washington (3/21/1938-12/29/1974)
Uniform #31
The Purdue grad was drafted by the Browns in 1960, but instead played with the Patriots in their inaugural AFL season. Washington was the starting left corner, opposite Gino Cappelletti; he also filled in for four games as the team’s punter. He played all but one game in the Pats’ first two seasons, collecting seven interceptions.

Washington played the next three seasons for the Jets, then became their assistant director of player personnel from 1966-69. In 1970 he became an assistant coach at the University of Pennsylvania. Washington passed away too early at the age of 36 from a brain tumor in his native home town of Carlisle PA.

For more on Washington check out this article, focusing on his stellar high school career:

Local natives hit the big time playing for the NFL | History | cumberlink.com

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Jack Rudolph, 79 (3/21/1938)
Uniform #80
Rudolph was drafted by the Lions in 1959 out of Georgia Tech, but never played for Detroit. Except for time missed due to injury he was a Patriot starting linebacker from 1960-1965. Miami selected Rudolph as part of their expansion draft and he finished his pro football career with the Dolphins. He had some interesting comments about those days.

Rudolph recalls early days of Super Bowl | Valdosta Daily Times

It’s really enjoyable to see the teams I was an original part of having so much success now-a-days,” said Rudolph.

The game was a lot different when Rudolph played. The AFL was the upstart league. It was more wide-open, with a lot more throwing, and a lot of play-making on defense. All of it was just to attract more fans to the stadiums.

Looking at the troubles expansion teams have today, can you imagine how it was to play for two of them in the 60’s?

“It’s hard for people to understand how it was back then,” Rudolph said. “The Dolphins put 250 guys through training camp to evaluate talent. The practices were long and hard and on a make-up field. After a few weeks, everyone was getting real cut up. The doctors didn’t know what was going on until someone looked at the field. The field was dirt put over seashells.”

So what could a linebacker from that hard-nosed era possibly see in today’s football? Is there a player today that could stand out to someone who was game-planned around so much back then.

“Almost every team has someone you can look at and say ‘wow,’” said Rudolph. “The linebackers today are kind of a down defensive end and a big cornerback. It’s a more specialized position.”

“Back then, if you were a really good linebacker, they put you on offense!”

After his pro football career ended Rudolph went on to become one of the nation’s premier high school football coaches.

Georgia Sports Hall of Fame needs a reality check | Savannah Morning News

Jack Rudolph has been overlooked for 10 years now. I’d vote Coach Rudolph in and ask the committee to apologize to the guy. He is the perfect example of a deserving honoree. Born and bred in Georgia. Competed in Georgia. Never left Georgia, except to play pro ball.

Jack was an outstanding football player at Georgia Tech. He played for the Boston Patriots and the Miami Dolphins. Upon retiring from the NFL, he joined the great Wright Bazemore’s staff at Valdosta High School and remained the defensive coordinator for 31 years. Coach Rudolph could have coached on any level. He elected to settle down in Valdosta, raise a family, and coach high school ball.

Coach Rudolph’s defenses helped lead the Valdosta High Wildcats to 11 state championships in 31 years. Half of his defenses allowed 7 points or less. In those 31 seasons, they allowed 8.3 points per game. Rudolph’s defenses shut out the opponent 119 times. Bazemore, Charlie Greene, Nick Hyder and Mike O’Brien got most of the credit, but this man was a major reason why Valdosta High has this outstanding national reputation.

He excelled in high school, college and the NFL. He invested 31 years in high school football. Coach Rudolph impacted hundreds of young lives along the way, myself included. I learned defense from Coach Rudolph, by listening to him coach during practice. I was far ahead of the curve when I arrived at Georgia as a freshman.

If it sounds like they take their high school football seriously in Valdosta you are correct. Rudolph ended up in his wife’s doghouse after his defense gave up only seven points in a loss to a crosstown rival.

Bragging Rights: The best high school football rivalries are long-running little civil wars. | Georgia Trend

It was October 1977. Rudolph, defensive coordinator for the mighty Valdosta football team, had just watched his unit play one of its best games of the season. Unfortunately, hated crosstown rival Lowndes High School was a little better that Friday night, posting a 7-2 win over the visiting Wildcats.

“That was the first time Lowndes had ever beaten us,” Rudolph says. “It was a pretty big deal.”

“That was always really important when I was playing and coaching,” says Rudolph, who grew up in Atlanta but married a Valdosta girl, Marsha, who was a cheerleader at Valdosta High and who stared righteous daggers at her husband that October night in 1977.

“When she [my wife] got home, she had a bad look on her face, asking me why we did this and that. The whole family was really upset with me,” Rudolph says. “My dog Blue jumped into my arms and licked my face, happy to see me when I got home. As the conversation with my wife went on, I said, ‘I wish there was one more person in this family who loved me as much as Blue does.’ So she said, ‘OK, we’ll get you another dog.’

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Paul Gipson (3/21/1946-1/16/1985)
Uniform #46
Gipson was a standout running back for the University of Houston, averaging 6.2 yards per carry. A two-time All-American, he was a major force that resulted in the Cougars achieving their best ever season and a number two national ranking. The Atlanta Falcons selected him in the second round (29th overall) in the 1969 draft.

The collegiate success never transferred to the pros however – although to be fair the Falcons were pretty horrid at that time. In his rookie season Gipson led the NFL with 8 fumbles. He was traded to Detroit after just two seasons and landed in New England two years after that. His brief career with the Patriots was rather inglorious: five game, five carries, one fumble and a net of minus-one yard rushing.

Reading between the lines Gipson’s lack of success in the NFL was likely due to substance abuse. In 1974 he stated that he was “starting all over” after battling alcoholism, playing in the inaugural season of the World Football League. In 1984 Gipson was sent to prison on drug charges. Three weeks later he was shot, and three weeks after that Gipson was found dead on a sidewalk.

UH Wins Game of the Century, 100-6 | Houston Chronicle

Houston Athletics Announces 2012 Honor Class | University of Houston Athletics

Paul Gipson Obituary | New York Times

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Hason Graham, 46 (3/21/1971)
Uniform #81
In 1994 the Georgia Bulldogs possessed one of college footballs best offenses. On a team that included Terrell Davis and Hines Ward, Graham led the club that season in touchdowns, receiving yards and yards from scrimmage. At 166 pounds however most felt he was too slight to make it in the NFL. He signed with the Patriots as an undrafted rookie free agent, and made the final roster as a wide receiver.

In his second season the Patriots met Green Bay in the Super Bowl. Bill Parcells (with his mind apparently more focused on his next position with the Jets) inexplicably included Graham as part of the game day actives over Troy Brown. Parcells had more brain locks when he elected to not only kickoff to Desmond Howard, but to also include Graham as part of the kick coverage unit. Graham was predictably unable to fulfill his assignment on special teams and Howard went untouched through the lane Graham was supposed to handle en route to a 99-yard game clinching touchdown.

Graham never played another NFL game; he was cut by Pete Carroll the following August. In 19 games over two years he tallied 15 receptions for 220 yards and two touchdowns.

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Hason Graham Bio | University of Georgia Athletics

Pats Cut Graham, Brown | The Standard-Times

 

Asante Cleveland, 25 (3/21/1992)
Uniform #44
The 6’5″ 260 lb tight end from the University of Miami was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by San Francisco in 2014. Cut at the end of training camp he bounced between the 49er practice squad (ten games) and 53-man roster (six games).

On August 18, 2015 the Patriots traded offensive lineman Jordan Devey to San Fran for Cleveland. Cleveland was cut at then end of training camp and re-signed to the Pats’ practice squad. In late November he was promoted to the 53-man roster, providing depth at tight end after injuries to Michael Williams and Rob Gronkowski. Cleveland was released on Christmas Day (c’mon Bill!) and signed by San Diego three days later; he is still on the charger roster now. His final stat line with the Patriots is one reception for one yard (his only NFL catch to date) in four games played.

New England Patriots sign TE Asante Cleveland from practice squad | MassLive

Football Journey: Patriots never lost track of TE Asante Cleveland after 2014 draft | Mike Reiss – ESPN

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Patriots Top Five Best All-Time Draft Classes

Steve Balestrieri
April 19, 2016 at 9:59 am ET

Top 5 Patriots Draft Classes Hard to Nail Down

The 2016 NFL Draft is almost here and although the New England Patriots don’t have a first round draft pick due to the Deflategate sanctions by the league, with 11 draft picks they have a lot of capital to play with.

We went back and made a list of our Top 5 drafts in the Patriots history. And the 2016 class will have some big shoes to fill if one day they want to be included in the group of the top drafts in franchise history.

There was a lot of material to go through so we looked for impact players that contributed a lot of success to the team for an extended period of time. And while there is plenty of room for debate as to what year’s class gets in and which doesn’t everyone one of these draft classes was a haul for the team.

So without further ado, here’s our Top Five Patriots’ Draft Classes of All time:

Patriot Pride – By Troy Brown, Mike Reiss: Required Reading for NE Fans

Steve Balestrieri
October 31, 2015 at 9:04 am ET

Troy Brown Patriot Pride

For anyone who watched the Patriots transform themselves from a perennial doormat to an NFL juggernaut, “Patriot Pride, My Life in the New England Dynasty” by Troy Brown and Mike Reiss is a must read. Also included is a foreward by Patriots QB and Brown’s teammate Tom Brady.

Brown’s early life is chronicled in Blacksville, South Carolina where his humble beginnings shaped him and prepared him for a future NFL career that lasted 15 seasons with the New England Patriots.

Brown is a shining example of a smaller player from a modest upbringing that can beat the odds and be a giant in the game played by physically much bigger men.  Brown was an 8th round draft pick (they don’t have those anymore), from Marshall so today he would be considered an undrafted free agent.

His phone call from Bill Parcells was brief and typically Parcells, after welcoming him to the Patriots, Parcells said, “Thanks Troy, you just save me a lot of money.” At the time UDFAs signed for considerably more than Brown’s $15,000 would so it was Parcells way of challenging him. More of that would come later.

When arriving in New England in 1993, the Patriots were far from the powerful model franchise that they are today. They were nearly always at the bottom and had just hired the Super Bowl champion coach Parcells to try to turn the moribund franchise around.

Brown had an immediate rapport with Parcells and he saw how by publicly rebuking players, it was a way he had of challenging them, to bring out their best. Parcells’ words to Brown were, “Troy, you’ll never be a starting receiver in this league,” Parcells said. “Just a role player is the ceiling for you…Maybe a fourth or fifth receiver is the best you can do.”

Brown went thru his trials and tribulations and survived being cut by Parcells to being brought back and gradually working his way not only on the roster but earning a bigger and bigger slice of playing time along the way. He and backup quarterback and now Patriots announcer Scott Zolak would hone their skills by running the scout team offense. They would frequently go off script and make plays.

The scout team would have plays diagrammed to go to a certain place on every down. But instead of throwing into double and triple coverage, Zolak and Brown would improvise and Brown was productive and he opened eyes on the coaching staff.

After the 1996 Super Bowl, which Brown missed with an injury, Parcells left for the Jets. Pete Carroll came to New England and the culture change was evident. Brown never felt comfortable or confident in Carroll and the team foundered. Three years later Bill Belichick arrived and everything changed.

Brown had his best season in 2001 leading the NFL in punt returns and catching 101 passes for 1199 yards and five touchdowns. Under Tom Brady, the team overcame a rocky 0-2 start to beat a heavily favored Pittsburgh team in the AFC Championship game where Brown returned a punt 55 yards for a touchdown.

The Steelers were so cocky that they hung a Pittsburgh conference champion t-shirt in the Patriots locker room. From there the Patriots stunned the NFL by upsetting the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI.

Brown recalls being shocked that the team during a third Super Bowl run in 2004 asked him to play defense when injuries decimated the secondary. That selfless act and the fact that he played very well in the role, epitomizes the Patriots under Bill Belichick. Everyone puts personal goals behind team goals and no one showcased that more than Brown.

As his career in the NFL was winding down, Brown knew it was time to retire when his body told him the time was right. Working out at Marshall in the off-season, he knew it was time and informed the Patriots he was retiring.

Brown parlayed his playing career into a broadcasting one, he’s now a regular on Comcast Sports New England with their Patriots coverage and was elected to the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2012.

Reiss weaves a great factual bio on one of the Patriots most beloved players on the Super Bowl winning teams. This book is a perfect gift for the Patriot fan and will one of those works that is always referred to as a ready reference to not only Troy Brown’s career but those three Super Bowl winning teams from 2001, 2003-04.

It is an easy, entertaining read and one that you can’t put down. You can order it on-line thru Amazon.com or find it in your own bookseller everywhere.

Follow me on Twitter @SteveB7SFG or email me at [email protected]

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