On Wednesday, the New England Patriots formally announced that offensive tackle Matt Light was voted by the fans to be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame for 2018, beating out defensive end Richard Seymour and linebacker Mike Vrabel.
Light, who spent his entire 11-year NFL career as a Patriot from 2001-2011, played a key role in protecting quarterback Tom Brady’s blind side for three Super Bowl championships in five appearances. Light joins former teammates Kevin Faulk, Troy Brown, and Tedy Bruschi as the only members of the team Hall of Fame with three Super Bowl rings.
Light was named to the Patriots’ 50th Anniversary Team in 2009 and earned Pro Bowl honors following the 2006, 2007 and 2010 seasons. He earned first team All Pro in 2007, blocking for an offense that set a then-NFL record 589 total points and 75 touchdowns in a perfect regular season.
Patriots owner and CEO Robert Kraft issued a statement following the news of Light’s selection.
“For 11 seasons, Matt’s many accomplishments, both on and off the field, made him the consummate Patriot, His contributions helped the Patriots become champions on the field and in the community. For more than a decade, Matt fearlessly protected Tom Brady’s blind side and played an immeasurably important role in delivering three Super Bowl titles and five conference championships. As proud as I am of Matt’s many contributions to those championship teams, I truly believe that his lasting legacy will be measured by the many positive things he and his wife, Susie, have done to help others in the community. Their investment in the lives of children will pay dividends for generations to come.”
According to the Patriots, “Light’s induction ceremony will be held on the NRG Plaza outside The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon on Saturday, Sept. 29, at a time yet to be determined. The outdoor hall of fame ceremony is free and open to the public. Fans of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. In addition, Light will be honored with a halftime ceremony during the Patriots home game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Sept. 30.”
Light is the 27th person to be inducted in the Patriots Hall of Fame since its official formation in 1991.
Matt Light said Robert Kraft called him this morning to inform him of his induction into the Hall of Fame. "It was a very special call," he said, relaying they reminisced about their first meeting in 2001 — at the Patriots' offices in Boston — following the draft.
Why Matt Light has always been an entertaining interview: Describing the task ahead of Patriots in replacing LT Nate Solder, Light described Solder as "a ridiculously large mammal; no fat, runs like a deer, got the reach and wingspan of a vulture.”
With a win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, the New England Patriots earned a first round bye for the eighth consecutive season. However despite Week 17 still being a must win game to decide the first or second seed, the team put a pause on the regular season finale next week to celebrate the Christmas holiday with their friends and families on Monday.
Speaking with the media Tuesday, even head coach Bill Belichick answered a Christmas related question with a football twist,
Bill Belichick on last-minute Christmas shopping and getting it done: "It was a struggle. 2-minute drill. We were out of timeouts."
On Monday morning it was first reported by ESPN’s Adam Schefter that former New England Patriots wide receiver Terry Glenn passed away at a hospital in Dallas, Texas following an automobile accident. Glenn was 43 years old.
Glenn played his first six NFL seasons with the Patriots, who drafted him seventh overall in the 1996 NFL Draft. During that timespan, Glenn played in 68 games and recorded 329 receptions for 4,669 yards and 22 touchdowns. He currently ranks eighth in team history in receiving yards and ninth in receptions.
In his first year with the Patriots, Glenn made an immediate impact on the team, starting 15 games and setting an NFL record for most receptions by a rookie with 90 catches for 1,132 yards and six touchdowns. His contributions that year helped the Patriots earn an 11-5 regular season record, claim their first division title in a decade, achieve their first playoff victory in Foxboro Stadium and advance to Super Bowl XXXI.
In a press release by the team, Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft shared the following statement;
“We were shocked and deeply saddened by today’s news that Terry Glenn died in an auto accident,” Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said. “Terry was one of the most gifted receivers we have ever had. For so many Patriots fans, his rookie season will be remembered as one of the most impactful in franchise history. After a disappointing 6-10 finish in 1995, we drafted Terry seventh overall, and in his first year, he helped propel the Patriots to an AFC Championship and Super Bowl appearance. One of my favorite memories came when we hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers in the divisional playoff game. It was my first home playoff game as an owner and just the second home playoff game in our history. It will always be remembered for the fog that filled Foxboro Stadium that day. Yet, on the first play from scrimmage, Drew Bledsoe threw a deep pass that disappeared in the fog and reappeared 53 yards downfield in Terry Glenn’s hands. We scored on the next play and ended up winning 28-3. Our thoughts and prayers are with Terry’s family, his former teammates and friends who mourn his loss.”
As word spread throughout the NFL, former teammates of Glenn along with present players took to their social media accounts to share their final goodbyes and condolences with personal tributes.
I’m speechless. My @Patriots Class Of ‘96 teammate and hands down most talented natural athlete I’ve seen in person. Terry kept to himself but was a good Dude with a big smile that lit up the room when it came out. #RIP#Patriotshttps://t.co/xk5HCng1gj
For the people that were asking for it yesterday, here's @DrewBledsoe's 53 yard bomb to Terry Glenn vs Rod Woodson in the '96 Divisional Round, the first play of the game for the Pats offense. Plus Curtis Martin's TD on the next play. #GoPatspic.twitter.com/e3BQbE8phV
While Thursday nights outcome wasn’t what Patriots fans had hoped for, the opening night pregame ceremony was still a sight to behold as it finally closed the book on the teams 2016 championship season.
Some of the best sights and sounds from the pregame atmosphere can be seen below, beginning with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s brief appearance on the field, and the crowd response.
In an interview with WBZ TV’s Steve Burton following his appearance on field, Goodell was quoted saying ““These fans are passionate, they’re loyal, they love the game and I totally get their reaction, so it’s fun to be here and it’s the kickoff to the season.”
As Goodell walked off, Brady took the field, neither interacted.
As for the moment everyone was waiting for, the banner ceremony kicked off with a performance from “Flo Rida” and actor Mark Wahlberg on the microphone introducing Patriots alumni and a current Patriot from five massive on field Lombardi trophies, accompanied by banners.
With the banner officially raised, the New England Patriots can finally fulfill head coach Bill Belichick’s long standing wishes, who continues to be sick of people living in the past during his post game press conference following the disappointing 42-17 loss that put a damper on the festivities.
Faulk spoke very openly about his time in New England, thanking both his teammates and fans for all their support over his 13 seasons and five Super Bowl appearances.
“To the fans of New England, thank you for all the countless hours that you spent in this stadium cheering us on,” Faulk said. “Thank you for all the countless hours standing up for this organization whenever people say that we’re not who we are. All those people that say that we’re cheaters, just tell them to come to our meeting rooms, come in our practice one day and see what we do and understand why we are who we are. We are the New England Patriots. Thank you, and I love you.”
A key third down back, Faulk became a fan favorite in New England for his durability and impact in the clutch. When Head Coach Bill Belichick spoke about Faulk he stated;
“Of all the things I can say about Kevin, to me the one thing that stands out more than anything else is even though his role changed and even though he was always there for us, the biggest contributions from Kevin Faulk always came in the biggest games and the most critical situations. That’s when he played his best football.”
Belichick also took note of a key moment in Faulk’s career against the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII,
“The 2-point play against Carolina was a huge play,” Belichick said. “It was the only time he scored all year. Kevin didn’t have a lot of touchdowns. He wasn’t a big scorer. He was a third down (converter) and a returner. More of a situational player.”
Brady, originally unscheduled to speak, took to the stage revealing a “33” Faulk jersey under his jacket as a tribute of his own in response to Faulk’s now infamous moment of Brady support at the 2016 NFL Draft back in April.
Chants of “Brady! Brady! Brady!” rang down from the thousands of fans in attendance, with Brady jokingly saying “No, this is for Kevin!” to respectfully remind the crowd whose night it really was and delivered a two minute speech to Faulk of his own.
“Respect. Its something that we are losing sight of in America, in the world right now, that’s what that was to me. Respecting me as an individual, respecting the thing that I did and showing it right back” Faulk later said about Brady’s tribute.
“We played 12 years together, I knew him back, front, side to side, he knew me back, front, side to side, I knew when he needed someone to get open, because like he said I was two feet away, and you look at the coverages they got Wes doubled here, they got Moss doubled here, they got me one on one with a linebacker, in my mind ain’t no linebacker in the league could of covered me, that was just my mind, and he knew how I felt, so when he would see those situations he’d always say ‘get open Kev’, and snap the ball, and I knew what to do.”
When asked how he handled the build up and nerves to the ceremony Faulk stated; “I was standing at the back waiting to walk out, and the only thing I kept saying in my head was the moment…flourish in my moment…its my moment and it was like anything I ever practiced for, I had to execute it, I had to do it, and that was me, thats Kevin Faulk.”
The Patriots concluded Day 5 of training camp inside Gillette Stadium in front of a raucous crowd on Monday night. The team dressed in shorts and shells after being in full pads Saturday and Sunday. After having a crowd of over 21,000 people on Saturday, more than 24,000 fans filled the lower bowls at Gillette for the session.
The big news of the day was Kevin Faulk being inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Bill Belichick in his remarks and later in his press conference called him one of the most unselfish players he’s ever coached. He said that Faulk and Troy Brown were two of the toughest, most clutch, and best decision makers on the team.
Faulk once again climbed the stage wearing a Tom Brady jersey under his suit coat. Something he did at the NFL draft this May. But he was in for a surprise. Brady came out in uniform for practice and unzipped his warmup jacket to reveal a Faulk jersey.
Faulk later said he was speechless by the gesture. Brady called Faulk, one of the best players, one of the best teammates and one the best friends he’s had. When fans began to chant Brady-Brady-Brady… the QB stopped them and said that night was about Faulk.
There’s something to be said for the respect that Brady has for his former teammate as this is the first time he’s spoken this summer. Faulk later addressed the media at the end of Belichick’s press conference and stated he wanted to savor the moment. “That’s the good feeling,” he said when asked about donning the red HOF jacket. He was deeply touched by Brady’s gesture. “So much love, so much emotion…great moment,” he said.
Faulk had some words for the legions of Patriots haters who accuse the team of being cheaters. “Let them come in here and watch the work we put in,” he said.
Not Practicing: Danny Amendola, Julian Edelman, Alan Branch (NFI), Dion Lewis, Tre’ Jackson, Sebastian Vollmer, Nate Ebner (Olympic Games), Keshawn Martin, Chris Hogan were not spotted at practice.
Offense Looks Mostly Sharp: When the team isn’t in full pads, it is the offense that usually rules the roost and Monday night was no exception. Tom Brady took the first reps with top offensive unit all night. While the competition was spirited, the practice didn’t have the intensity that the weekend workouts did.
When Brady was off the field, he was idly chatting with Tedy Bruschi in the end zone, something that we haven’t seen much of this summer. Brady however, was mostly sharp on the night. The only poor throw he made was to Martellus Bennett who was running a deep cross from right to left and was wide open. Brady’s pass was behind him and when Bennett tried to stop to make the catch, he lost his footing.
Brady made a beauty of a deep throw to Chris Harper who beat Jonathan Jones. And on another, he showed outstanding touch to Rob Gronkowski on a deep slant over Jamie Collins who had tight coverage.
Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t as sharp as Brady but had an ok session. He was picked off by Devin McCourty after his pass went right off the receiver’s hands. He had another nearly picked by Justin Coleman. But he showed some sharpness too. He made a nice connection with Aaron Dobson over Cyrus Jones for about 20 yards.
Jacoby Brissett didn’t have a great practice. As happens with rookies, he was holding the ball too long, made some poor throws, was picked off twice, nearly had a couple more and had too many throwaways.
Kick Returner Seems to be Jones’ job to Lose: Rookie Cyrus Jones continues to get the first reps with the STs kick return unit. He’s showing good vision and decision-making and has that burst that can be dangerous if he gets past the first wave of coverage.
Harper, V’Angelo Bentley and DeAndre Carter also are getting reps in the return game.
Rookies Continue to Work with Top OL Unit: Rookies Joe Thuney and Ted Karras continue to get the 1st team reps in the interior of the offensive line. Thuney looks very comfortable out there and Karras bring a little bit of that nastiness that the team has lacked in the past few years.
Shaq Mason was activated off of PUP but has had a difficult time seeing the field. He spent the majority of Monday evening watching from the end zone. Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon operated at the tackle position with David Andrews at center for the first team unit.
Play(s) of the Day: Brady not only hit Gronkowski once in the corner of the end zone but did it twice. The big man is having a terrific summer and is darn near un-coverable. So while he’s been on fire he’s also been playing to the crowd. Immediately after his second touchdown, he ran over to the fans in the end zone and was firing them up even more so than they wore before.
Which leads us to the next point. Watching the body language of the defensive players after Gronk’s second touchdown and resultant celebration, they were pissed. And rightfully so.
Once in a while the celebration a big score is acceptable, but there is beginning to happen an alarming trend of daily scenarios where they cavort and are showing up the defensive players. Two words here…. Brandon Browner.
Remember two years ago when the WRs were taking too much advantage of their defensive opponents in shorts and shells and they got a bit cocky. Browner set the tone immediately at the start of the next practice. He slammed Kenbrell Thompkins at the line then well after the whistle flung him to the ground like a sack of mail.
We may have another Browner moment soon. If the team is in full pads on Weds or Thursday, look for Hightower or Collins to send a message that the defense is ready for all comers.
The team is off on Tuesday and get back to work on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with practices scheduled for 9:15 a.m.
The New England Patriots announced on Wednesday that former running back Kevin Faulk was selected by the fans to be the newest member of the Patriots Hall Of Fame for 2016. Faulk beat out former teammate, linebacker Mike Vrabel, and cornerback Raymond Clayborn, a Patriot from 1977-1989.
Faulk becomes the 25th member of The Hall since the selection process began in 1991 with John Hannah. In 2007, the vote was opened up to fan partipcation online. Faulk joins former teammates Drew Bledsoe, (2011) Troy Brown, (2012) Tedy Bruschi, (2013) Ty Law (2014) and Willie McGinest. (2015)
Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft released the following statement.
“Kevin Faulk helped deliver three Super Bowl championships and redefined the way an entire generation of Patriots fans celebrated football in New England,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “Despite entering the NFL as the second-leading rusher in SEC history, he arrived in New England without ego or pretense. He was a selfless and tireless contributor to the team, accepting every challenge and excelling in many roles throughout his 13-year career. His work ethic, enthusiasm for the game and clutch performances, especially on third down, earned him the respect of his coaches, teammates and fans alike. For all his contributions and memorable moments on the field, some of my fondest memories were of Kevin’s contributions off the field. He earned our Ron Burton Community Service award in 2009 and often involved his family in his volunteer work, teaching his children the values of giving back.”
A career Patriot for 13 NFL seasons since being 46th overall in the 1999 NFL Draft ,Faulk is “the Patriots’ all-time leader in all-purpose yards (12,349) and kickoff return yards (4,098). He is also the Patriots’ all-time leading return specialist, totaling 5,041 combined return yards (4,098 kick return yards and 943 punt return yards). He ranks fifth in Patriots history in rushing yards (3,607), fifth in receptions (431), 12th in receiving yards (3,701) and eighth in punt return yards (943)” per the Patriots offical announcement.
Faulk was an invauable, durable, and clutch piece to the Patriots offense during the early years of the Tom Brady era. An early highlight dug up by CBS Boston’s Michael Hurley shows Faulk passing to Brady in a regular season game in 2001.
Back at the end of April, Faulk made national headlines for wearing a Tom Brady jersey and including Brady’s name in the announcement of a draft pick in Chicago. The stunt certainly favored Faulk in the final vote.
Induction ceremony for Kevin Faulk scheduled for Aug. 1. Free/open to public. Faulk also will be honored at halftime of 9/18 home opener.