By Danny Cox
The New England Patriots have a way of doing things the right away almost all of the time, and their success proves that. When it comes to Super Bowl LI, the Pats will have to find a way to defend against one of the best offenses in the entire NFL, and that means defending a lot of different weapons, but…who gets who?
Covering one of the best wide receivers in the NFL
When the Patriots step onto the field against the Atlanta Falcons, there won’t be just one explosive offense—there will be two. New England knows that they are facing another MVP candidate in quarterback Matt Ryan, who has a number of dangerous targets to aim for on Atlanta’s roster. One of the most dangerous is wide receiver Julio Jones, and Patriots defensive back Eric Rowe may be the one covering him on Sunday.
In September, Rowe was sitting near the end of the depth chart for the Philadelphia Eagles before being traded to the Patriots for a conditional draft pick. Almost no time was wasted before he shot up the chart for the Pats and found himself as one of the top defenders on the team. Injuries did limit his 2016 season to only nine games, but he showed enough to prove his worth to Bill Belichick.
Should Rowe draw the assignment of defending Julio Jones, he will have to cover a receiver that racked up 1,409 yards and six touchdowns on 83 receptions in 2016. It won’t be an easy task, but Rowe is definitely ready for the challenge if it ends up falling on his shoulders.
One Patriots Super Bowl ring brings great things to 24 orphans in Thailand
Je’Rod Cherry is a former safety who played for a few teams in the NFL, but he had his most success during his stint with the New England Patriots, which earned him three Super Bowl rings. He is one ring short now as he decided to put it to good use and help a lot of others who are much more in need than he is.
In 2008, Cherry was helping out as a volunteer at a religious youth conference when he learned that a group of teens needed help. They were trying to raise money to build an orphanage in Thailand and came up about $20,000 short of their goal. One of the staffers for the conference joked around with him and asked if he was ready to “give up one of those rings.”
That comment was made simply in jest, but Je’Rod Cherry took it seriously. He also took the presentation about the orphans and the help they needed, to heart, which made his decision that much easier.
At that moment, he made the decision that one of his most cherished possessions had a much greater purpose in this world, and he knew what he needed to do. Not only did Cherry donate one of his championship rings, but he gave up the one from the Patriots’ win over the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI—the one that meant the most to him.
The raffle for his ring raised more than $180,000—all of which went to charities such as Feed My Starving Children and Boston For Africa, which helps orphaned children in Cambodia, India, Thailand and other countries. The ring may have been handed out to Je’Rod Cherry many years ago, but it is now helping many people today.