Reporting Levan Reid
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BOSTON (CBS) – Saturday afternoon is a big one for many Patriots players and the fans.
At 5 p.m. today, Troy Brown will go into the Patriots Hall of Fame. When talking to the players and coaches this week, they all called Troy Brown a true Patriot. Bill Belichick said he’s one of a kind.
“I can’t think of anybody more deserving to go in than him,” Belichick said. “Special player. Came in very unheralded, worked his way up on the roster offensively, returned kicks, ended up playing for us defensively. He won championships, played at a very high level and played his best football in big games.
“Troy was a great leader,” Belichick continued. “Worked as hard as anybody, unselfishly, always did what we asked him to do from a team standpoint whether it was block, catch passes, return kicks, cover kicks, cover receivers. He truly was a good player in all three phases of the game, an outstanding player offensively and in the kicking game.”
Belichick wasn’t the only one to commend Brown’s leadership though.
“You’re talking about a leader on and off the field. He would give you the shirt off his back,” nose tackle Vince Wilfork said of Brown. “He is one hell of a person, not just a football player. He’s a great, great man. You hear people talk all the time about being a Patriot; he’s a walking Patriot. He’s every example of what this organization stands for.”
“Congratulations to him, I wish him all the luck. He deserves it,” added Wilfork. “Playing (defensive back), special teams, receiver. He played it all on the field. As good as he was on the field he was even better off the field. I think that’s what everyone remembers Troy in. Him as a person, he’s one hell of a person.”
The high praise continued, and it wouldn’t mean much if a little love didn’t come from the man who threw so many clutch passes his way.
“Troy is a great friend of mine. He’s just a special player and friend and teammate,” said quarterback Tom Brady. “We’ve been in the huddle for a lot of years. It’s really a great honor for him. He certainly deserves it. When you think of a Patriots player and attitude, that’s the first guy that comes to mind. Everyone will be excited for him. We see him here from time to time. I know he still wishes he could get out and play with us. He says he’s always got three or four more plays left in him but he’s getting a little heavy to me so I don’t know about that.”
Brown collected 557 career receptions during his 13 years with the Patriots, which Wes Welker just matched last weekend for the most All-Time in franchise history. Chances are Welker will overtake Brown this weekend against the Cardinals, but he knows Brown’s place in Patriots’ history.
“Troy will probably go down as the best receiver to ever play with the Patriots,” said Welker. “When I first came here all I did was watch video of Troy and how he played the Z position; all the things he was able to do, watching him in multiple games make big plays and do some great things here. Him going to the Hall of Fame is well deserved for such a good player.”
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Brown was able to try on the jacket at a presentation on Thursday but he said the real fun will happen later on today. When asked if he thought he was going to cry when he started to thank people at the podium, Troy said there is nothing really to cry about.
“I’m usually a pretty happy person. I don’t think I cry very easily,” he said. “It just brings back a lot of memories and hopefully I’ll see a lot of familiar faces that I haven’t seen in a while. I think this is a great way to cap off my career. You can’t get any greater honor than this when you’re a Patriot.”
Tune in to Patriots-Cardinals at 1 p.m. Sunday on 98.5 The Sports Hub! Pregame coverage begins at 10 a.m. with Patriots Preview, and stayed tuned after the game for three hours of post-game reaction and analysis.