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Raymond Clayborn ‘surprised and very happy’ to be elected to Patriots Hall of Fame 05.22.17 at 6:59 pm ET
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Raymond Clayborn is the Patriots' 2017 Hall of Fame inductee. (Otto Gruele Jr/Getty Images)

Raymond Clayborn is the Patriots’ 2017 Hall of Fame inductee. (Otto Gruele Jr/Getty Images)

For the past three years, former Patriots cornerback Raymond Clayborn was nominated for the Patriots Hall of Fame, but never was elected.

That changed this year when Clayborn beat out Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel to be the 26th member of the Hall of Fame.

“I really felt real good about it and had two excellent guys that were also nominated with me,” Clayborn said on a conference call Monday. “I keep reverting back to the Super Bowls and previous years when I was a candidate, it always had gone to one of those guys. I thought the same thing was going to happen again. I was totally surprised and very happy.”

Robert Kraft called Clayborn to deliver the news, and he didn’t believe him at first.

“He said a few things. He said, “Raymond, you were the guy that we picked this year,” or something like that, and then he kept talking,” Clayborn said. “I had to ask him. I said, “Are you telling me that I won the vote against Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel?”

Clayborn, who played for the Patriots from 1977 to 1989, set a franchise record with 36 career interceptions, a record which Ty Law tied in 2004. He described himself as a player who could do a number of different things.

“I was the kind of guy that could use different techniques,” he said. “I mainly liked to get close up to the line of scrimmage. I don’t know if you guys remember that we were a man-to-man blitzing team under Hank Bullough, the defensive coordinator up there, so you had to disguise, try to cover up what you were actually doing, not let them know you were in man-to-man by moving up and back and using different techniques – off bump-and-run, off 7 yards. They wouldn’t let us be but 7 yards off of them. They said we had to do that. We just came together and did a great job.”

He will be honored over the summer with a ceremony outside the Hall at Patriot Place.

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Raymond Clayborn elected into Patriots Hall of Fame at 3:34 pm ET
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Raymond Clayborn is the Patriots' 2017 Hall of Fame inductee. (Otto Gruele Jr/Getty Images)

Raymond Clayborn is the Patriots’ 2017 Hall of Fame inductee. (Otto Gruele Jr/Getty Images)

On Monday, the Patriots announced former cornerback Raymond Clayborn has been elected into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Clayborn beat out Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel following being nominated by a committee and then winning an online vote by fans.

He had been nominated four straight years.

The cornerback was a three-time Pro Bowl player (1983, 1985, 1986) during his 13-year Patriots career that extended from 1977 through 1989. He set a franchise record with 36 career interceptions, a record which Ty Law tied in 2004. His 555 interception return yards rank second in franchise history to Law’s 583 return yards.

Clayborn also returned 57 kickoffs for 1,538 yards and three touchdowns. He is one of just 20 NFL players since the 1970 merger to finish a season with a better than 30-yard average on kickoff returns (min. 20 returns) and is the only Patriots player to accomplish the feat.

“I was fortunate to be a season ticket holder during Raymond’s entire Patriots career,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft in a statement. “For the first half of his career, he teamed with Michael Haynes to form one of the best corner tandems in league history. Throughout his career, Raymond was a physical, shutdown corner. One of my favorite memories was watching the 1985 team advance to the Super Bowl after Raymond helped us break the Orange Bowl curse when he stymied future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino with a dominant performance against Pro Bowl receivers Mark Duper and Mark Clayton.

“Raymond had six passes defensed and an interception to help us claim our first conference title. It was the greatest upset victory in franchise history at the time and one the entire New England region celebrated. It is a well-deserved honor and I look forward to presenting him his hall of fame jacket.”

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

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Patriots 2017 Hall of Fame finalists announced 04.21.17 at 10:17 am ET
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Mike Vrabel is a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

Mike Vrabel is a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

After the 20-person nomination committee met a few weeks back, they have decided on three finalists for the 2017 Patriots Hall of Fame — Raymond Clayborn, Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel.

Clayborn is a finalist for the fourth straight year, Vrabel is a finalist for the second straight year, while Seymour is a first-year eligible finalist. Fans have until May 15 to vote on Patriots.com for the former Patriot most deserving of Hall of Fame enshrinement. The winner will be announced that week.

Seymour spent the first eight seasons of his 12-year NFL career with the Patriots and played an important part in delivering six division championships, four conference titles and three Super Bowl championships to New England. He was named to five straight Pro Bowls with the Patriots (2002-06) and earned four straight first team All-Pro honors (2003-06). His five Pro Bowl berths are the most by any Patriots defensive lineman since the 1970 NFL merger.

During his eight-year tenure in New England, Vrabel played a major role in the Patriots’ run of three Super Bowls in four years (2001, 2003 and 2004). He started at both inside and outside linebacker positions during his Patriots tenure, regularly lining up on offense in short-yardage and goal-line situations and continuing to make valuable contributions on various special teams units throughout his career.

Clayborn was a three-time Pro Bowl player (1983, 1985, 1986) for the Patriots during a career that extended from 1977 through 1989.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Read More: Mike Vrabel, Raymond Clayborn, Richard Seymour,
Pats personnel chief Nick Caserio acknowledges Hall of Fame finalists 04.19.16 at 2:37 pm ET
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Nick Caserio

Nick Caserio

Prior to his pre-draft press conference on Tuesday, Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio paused to give a shout-out to the three finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame: Kevin Faulk, Mike Vrabel and Raymond Clayborn. Caserio acknowledged that he didn’t get a chance to watch as much of Clayborn as the other two, but still said the former New England defensive back had “an accomplished career; 12 years, 161 straight starts, 37 career interceptions. A great football player.” However, he was closely connected with both Faulk and Vrabel, who played a major role in the first three titles of the Patriots era.

Caserio on Faulk: “Kevin Faulk basically made himself into the great player that he was. There are stories that go back that he basically taught himself how to pass block. He didn’t know how to do it when he got here. (He) worked with Dante (Scarnecchia) to try and get better in that area and he embodied a lot of things that we look for in football players. (He) was as dependable, was productive, and he’s given back to football. (He’s now) coaching down there in Louisiana. It’s a credit to the career that Kevin has had.”

Caserio on Vrabel: “Mike’s career kind of speaks for itself. He was asked to do a number of different things, some of which he had never done before. He probably thought he had the best set of hands of anybody in the NFL. Quick story, we go out there for pregame warmups and I used to throw to him before the game and if the ball ever hit the ground it wasn’t because of his hands, it was because the quarterback that was throwing was pretty bad. He always talked about his hands were better than Hines Ward, but that was Mike. He played linebacker, played tight end, played free safety in practice.

“(They’re) tremendous nominees. We’ll see how the process goes, but certainly a tip of the cap to that group. Congratulations to them.”

Voting continues through May 14 at Patriots.com.

Read More: Kevin Faulk, Mike Vrabel, Nick Caserio, Raymond Clayborn
Poll: Which Patriots Hall of Fame finalist are you going to vote for? 04.14.16 at 6:08 pm ET
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Which Patriots Hall of Fame finalist are you going to vote for?

  • Kevin Faulk (64%, 596 Votes)
  • Mike Vrabel (19%, 178 Votes)
  • Raymond Clayborn (17%, 162 Votes)

Total Voters: 936

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Raymond Clayborn, Kevin Faulk, Mike Vrabel finalists for Patriots Hall of Fame at 6:02 pm ET
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Mike Vrabel and Kevin Faulk are finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Mike Vrabel and Kevin Faulk are finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Patriots announced Thursday that defensive back Raymond Clayborn, running back Kevin Faulk and defensive end Mike Vrabel have been selected as finalists for this year’s induction into the team’s Hall of Fame.

Starting today, Patriots fans are encouraged to vote for the former Patriot most deserving of enshrinement. Fans can vote on www.patriots.com/2016hof for the next month. Voting will end on May 14, and the Patriots will announce the 2016 Patriots Hall of Fame selection at a later date.

Via the team, here’s a bio of each one of the finalists:

Raymond Clayborn was a three-time Pro Bowl player (1983, 1985, 1986) for the Patriots during a career that extended from 1977 through 1989. He was drafted by the Patriots in the first round (16th overall) out of Texas in 1977 and quickly established himself as one of the game’s best cornerbacks as well as a superb kickoff returner. He finished his career with a franchise-leading 36 interceptions, a record which was tied by Ty Law in 2004 and remains today, 27 years after he retired. His 555 interception return yards are second in franchise history to Law’s 583 return yards. Clayborn also returned 57 kickoffs for 1,538 yards and three touchdowns. As a rookie in 1977, Clayborn returned 28 kickoffs for 869 yards and led the NFL with a 31.0-yard return average and returned three kicks for touchdowns, both of which remain franchise records. He is one of just 19 NFL players since the 1970 merger to finish a season with a better than 30.0-yard average on kickoff returns (min. 20 returns) and is the only Patriots player to accomplish the feat. Clayborn played a vital role in bringing the Patriots to respectability in the late 1970s and early ‘80s. During his 13 seasons with the Patriots, he helped the Patriots to 10 winning seasons, including four postseason berths. Clayborn intercepted Pro Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino and recorded six passes defensed to help end an 18-game losing streak to the Miami Dolphins in the Orange Bowl in a 31-14 AFC Championship victory that propelled the Patriots to their first Super Bowl appearance. Clayborn was a member of the Patriots’ 1970s and 1980s all-decade teams. He also set a franchise record by playing in 161 consecutive games.

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Read More: Kevin Faulk, Mike Vaccaro, Raymond Clayborn,
Willie McGinest, Ray Clayborn and Leon Gray three finalists for Patriots Hall of Fame 04.16.15 at 2:43 pm ET
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The Patriots announced Thursday that cornerback Raymond Clayborn, offensive tackle Leon Gray and defensive end/linebacker Willie McGinest were named the three finalists for the Patriots Hall of Fame.

McGinest is a first-time finalist, while both Clayborn (2014) and Gray (2013) are second-time finalists.

Starting Thursday, Patriots fans are encouraged to vote for the former Patriot most deserving of hall of fame enshrinement. Fans can vote on www.patriots.com for the next month. Voting will end on May 16 and the Patriots will announce the 2015 Patriots Hall of Fame selection in early June.

This year’s inductee will become the 24th person to be enshrined into the Patriots Hall of Fame and will join defensive lineman Houston Antwine, who was selected to the hall of fame by the senior selection committee, as the 2015 honorees.

Via the team, here’€™s more info on each one of the three finalists:
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Read More: Leon Gray, Patriots Hall of Fame, Raymond Clayborn, Willie McGinest

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