On Tuesday the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced that 129 modern-era players were nominated for the class of 2023. Of those players, 24 of them spent time in Foxborough.
While a few of those players’ tenures in New England may have been brief and forgettable, fans will recognize most names. Among the players to received nominations are Vince Wilfork, Rodney Harrison, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Troy Brown, Logan Mankins, Wes Welker, Ben Coates, Darrelle Revis, and Corey Dillion.
Both Wilfork and Harrison have appeared on the ballot before. Both players won two Super Bowls in New England, Wilfork in 2004, his first year in New England, and 2014, his last. Harrison’s two rings came in back-to-back years, 2003 and 2004. Wilfork was one of, if not THE best nose tackle in the league during his playing days; wrecking opposing offensive lines with versatility and skill, not just his 325-pound frame. Harrison arrived in New England in the summer of 2003 after becoming cast off from the San Diego Chargers. The only defensive back in NFL history with 30 interceptions and 30 sacks, Harrison immediately ended any doubts that he was washed up, captaining the back end of the Patriots to what is still the most recent back-to-back Super Bowl championships.
McGinest was the Patriots first draft pick in the Robert Kraft-ownership era. Together with 1996-draftee Tedy Bruschi, the pair of linebackers grew from young players on a 1996-Patriots team that fell short in the Super Bowl to highly respected leaders on a championship defense that is still counted among the best of all time.
Troy Brown was another long-tenured Patriot that finally saw himself rewarded with championship glory on the early 2000′s Pats. The 198th pick of the 1993 draft, Brown became one of the most dependable- and versatile- players of the Patriots’ dynasty. When injuries ravaged the depth of the 2004 Patriots’ secondary, the wide receiver turned into a defensive back, playing defense for the first time in his career at 33 years old. The Patriots finished the season 14-2 and Brown finished the year with three interceptions. His 557-career receptions is still the second most in Patriot history.
Although Logan Mankins spent nine years in New England, he somehow missed championships by a year on both sides of his tenure. Still, the stalwart offensive lineman, has no shortage of hardware. The left guard made 7 Bro Bowls during his time in New England and was named to the Hall of Fames’ All-2010′s team.
A pair of Super Bowl losses to the Giants in 2007 and 2011 left Wes Welker ringless but the pass catcher redefined the modern-day slot receiver role. In his 6 years in New England, Welker hauled in over 100 total passes five times.
Ben Coates’ time came before the modern-day Patriots dynasty but “The Original 87″ was one of the best tight ends of the 1990′s. Coates was named to five Pro Bowls on the Hall of Fames’ All-1990′s team.
Darrelle Revis and Corey Dillon spent far less time in New England than they did elsewhere but the two only became champions while rocking the flying elvis on the side of their helmets. Revis, one of the NFL’s most skilled cornerbacks ever, earned All-Pro honors and a Lombardi Trophy during his one year with the Patriots in 2014. Dillon’s 1635 total yards in 2004 were a career-high for the running back that already had 3 Pro Bowl selections.
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