Brown takes his place among Patriots greats
9/17/12 12:00 PM
The memories are many and they exist for former Patriots great Troy Brown and for the fans who marveled at his play for 15 seasons. He was the type of player New Englanders embrace – small in stature and huge in heart, a player who maximized his talents despite phsycial limitations and less-than-ideal NFL measurements.
But his willingness and ability to overcome obstacles and fight to earn his way is why Brown became the 19th
member of the Patriots Hall of Fame on Sept. 15 in a rousing ceremony outside The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon.
For Brown, it was B-I-N-G-O. He certainly won again. In front of a packed crowd filling the Patriot Place Plaza and the grand staircase overlooking The Hall, Brown thanked the fans, his teammates and coaches from throughout his career.
“It’s a great way to cap off my career,” Brown said. “You can’t get any greater honor than this when you’re a Patriot.”
Brown certainly is that. Like Gino Cappelletti from the 1960s, Brown is dubbed Mr. Patriot my many. Team owner Robert Kraft said he defines the Patriots way. Quarterback Tom Brady said his photo would appear next to the word Patriot in the dictionary. It’s hard to argue with them when you consider Brown’s career.
He was cut early in his second season only to return midway through and hang around as an integral part of three Super Bowl champions over 15 seasons. When he was trying to merely stick in the NFL, he did it by playing special teams, returning punts and kickoffs and covering them as well on the kicking teams. He was mostly a fourth down player.
In 1996, with the Patriots fighting for a first-round playoff bye and trailing the New York Giants late in the fourth quarter, Brown made a play that showed a glimpse of how he could help in the passing game when he caught a pass from Drew Bledsoe while lying on his back to convert a huge third down on the game-winning drive. Bledsoe cited the play as his most memorable when it came to Brown.
Of course, there were many clutch plays -- big plays that helped the Patriots not only win games but also championships.
There was the punt return for a touchdown and scoop-and-score play against the Steelers in the 2001 AFC Championship Game along with the huge catch that set up the game-winning kick in the Super Bowl a week later. There was the fourth down catch that set up a go-ahead field goal in a playoff game against the Titans, and the forced fumble after Tom Brady’s playoff interception in San Diego that gave the ball back to New England and helped a comeback win over the Chargers.
Brown was more than a clutch receiver and dynamic return specialist. Late in his career, he also became a threat on defense. In 2004, he emerged as the Patriots nickel cornerback covering the slot receiver and intercepted three passes as the Patriots captured their third Super Bowl in four years.
Brown is actually the first Patriots player with three Super Bowl rings to be inducted to the Patriots Hall. “To be one of the first of that group of guys that set such a great example for the way New England does things. I feel like I tried to do the right things the right way and I have a lot of respect for the game and the people who played it.
“I made it 15 years with this team and this organization. I just enjoyed working hard, I enjoyed grinding things out, I enjoyed sweating, I enjoyed going through the pain of weeks of hard labor.”
And on Sept. 15, Brown enjoyed his induction. After standing in front of the fans sharing his thoughts, he finished with “BINGO. I got BINGO. I win again!”