|Troy’s work room…||09.25.08 at 6:54 am ET|
Bill Belichick might be the most stoic and understated personality in the NFL.
On Thursday, the Patriots head coach showed a glimpse of his personal side when he spoke at the retirement news conference for Patriots all-time receptions leader and BINGO icon Troy Brown.
“Troy, we have so many great memories of you, and all that you’ve done for this organization, this football team and me personally, and I’ll be forever grateful and indebted to you. It has truly been an honor, truly an honor to coach you,” Belichick said.
With those emotionally powerful words Belichick summed up the feelings of the entire organization about an undersized (5’10″ 196 pounds) wide receiver who was drafted in the eighth round out of Marshall University in 1993.
While many fans and followers, like owner Robert Kraft, remember Brown’s punt return against the Steelers in the AFC Championship Game in January 2002 and his catch on the game-winning drive one week later against the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, leave it to Belichick to come up with his own unique take.
“It was the Green Bay game, when we went up there in ’06 and Eugene Wilson was out, Rodney Harrison was out and Asante was out, we said we’re going to put Troy on Donald Driver. I remember some looks in there (locker room) and the defensive coaches,” Belichick said. “Ninety-three catches, 1300 yards and he was leading receiver in the NFC and Troy held him to one catch for three yards.”
Speaking of Rodney Harrison, the Patriots safety knew even before Brown became a Patriot that the little receiver out of Marshall could play for one reason… He was tough.
“I competed against him in playoff game against him at Marshall,” Harrison said of his college days at Western Illinois. “I kicked his butt. He got up after I hit him real hard and he looked at me and said, ‘Is that all you got?’ That really sums up Troy. You hit in the mouth and he smiles at you. There’s no bitterness. Troy had fun when he played. I think all of us can learn from that.”
As for the man himself, he was, in classic Troy Brown form, simple, direct and effective in thanking Belichick and the organization for giving him the chance to prove all the naysayers wrong.
And appropriate that the all-time receptions leader in New England Patriots history announced his retirement in a work room.
No one worked harder or symbolized the Patriots’ rise to NFL glory than Troy Brown.
And today that work ethic and leadership is being recognized in the media workroom at Gillette Stadium.
Another irony is that once this is over, Brown is expected to take a job in the sports media, talking about the only team he ever called his own.
A couple of nuggets you may not have known… Brown wore the No. 86 in his first training camp and season with the Patriots in 1993 and in 1994. He changed to No. 80 in 1995. Brown, in addition to finishing his career as the club’s all-time leader in receptions (557), he is also the team’s all-time leading receiver in the postseason with 58 catches in 20 playoff games.
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