BOSTON (CBS) – Quarterback Drew Bledsoe is the newest member of the New England Patriots Hall of Fame.
Bledsoe, in his first year of eligibility for the Pats HOF, was selected first overall by New England in the 1993 NFL Draft and was considered the face of the franchise for the next eight years. During his nine-year Patriots career, Bledsoe broke the Patriots’ career passing records for attempts (4,518), completions (2,544) and yards (29,657). He still holds the Patriots’ single-season passing records for attempts (691) and completions (400) and is the only player in franchise history to pass for over 400 yards multiple times (4).
“Obviously this is a tremendous honor, to be elected to the Patriots Hall of Fame,” Bledsoe said on a conference call after the announcement. “It was a little overwhelming this morning to receive the call from Mr. [Robert] Kraft – honestly a little more emotional than I thought it would have been. Just to be considered in the company of Bill Parcells and Houston Antwine was a great honor in and of itself. And then to be elected to the hall of fame was really a tremendous honor.”
“I’m really looking forward to getting back there in September and [it is] obviously a great honor. It means a lot to me and a lot to my family,” he added.
Bledsoe led the Patriots to the playoffs four times in his first six seasons, including a trip to Super Bowl XXXVI in 1996. He was replaced by Tom Brady in Week 3 of the 2001 season after suffering a life-threatening injury at the hands (or hit) or Jets Lineback Mo Lewis. The hit left Bledsoe with a sheared blood vessel in his chest, and Brady took over from there out.
Bledsoe did not play that season until the AFC Championship in Pittsburgh when he replaced an injured Brady. He completed 10 of 21 passes for 102 yards and a touchdown, leading the Patriots to a 24-17 victory and the franchise’s third trip to the Super Bowl.
“I congratulate Drew on this most deserving honor,” Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick said in a release. “For his production at the quarterback position and his professionalism for nearly a decade, Drew was instrumental in helping put this franchise back on the map. His induction will be an appropriate celebration of an outstanding career.”
Bledsoe, voted in by fans, beat out his former coach, Bill Parcells, and defensive lineman Houston Antwine in the voting. Bledsoe earned the highest percentage of votes for any candidate and becomes the first player to be selected by the fans into the Patriots Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.
Bledsoe and center Jon Morris will be enshrined into the Hall at Patriot Place on Saturday, September 17. The event is free to the public and fans are encouraged to attend.