BOSTON (CBS) – As many can imagine, former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe was not a fan of being replaced by Tom Brady in 2001.

“It was hard, there’s no getting around that,” Bledsoe told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Gresh & Zolak on Thursday. “The difficulty of the situation had nothing to do with Tom, or really with me. It had to do with the situation, where only one guy could be on the field”

Listen: Bledsoe on Gresh & Zo: Brady Starting In ’01 Was “Difficult”

Bledsoe went down in Week two of the 2001 season, after a hit by New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis left him with a sheared blood vessel in his chest. While Bledsoe was out, Tom Brady stepped in and the Patriots went 11-3 the rest of the regular season. Bledsoe remained on the sidelines, even after he was cleared to play.

“I didn’t like it, I didn’t think it was fair at the time,” said the 1993 first-overall pick. “That made the relationship between me and Tom difficult at that point.”

Bledsoe did not play until the AFC Championship in Pittsburgh. When Brady left with a leg injury in the second quarter, Bledsoe retook the reigns. 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. Tom Brady was back under center for the team’s 20-17 Super Bowl victory over the Rams a week later.

“Looking back, do I believe we would have had the same or similar success had I not got hurt? Of course I do,” said Bledsoe. “That’s the way it works. Would that have been the case, who knows?”

Bledsoe, in his first year of eligibility for the Patriots Hall of Fame, has remained friends with the man who replaced him, and respects what Brady has done throughout his career.

“What Tom has done, the way he has plays and the way he has conducted himself on and off the field as a leader, a stand-up guy in the community and the world, I’m nothing but proud of him,” said Bledsoe. “It’s been a pleasure to watch him. I’ve been a fan of his ever since I retired. I’ve enjoyed watching him, and the Patriots in their great success they’ve had building on what we got going there in the mid 90’s.”

Read: Bledsoe, Parcells Candidates For Patriots Hall of Fame

“I take pride watching what he’s done, knowing that I was an early mentor,” Bledsoe continued. “Obviously he’s gone above and beyond everything and everybody. But it’s a good relationship, we keep in touch from time to time, and I’m really proud and excited to see what he’s done with his career and life.”

Fans can cast their ballot for the Patriots Hall of Fame at through May 15.

Comments (19)
  1. Scott Ferren says:

    Pats would have had a losing season if Bledsoe didn’t get hurt. His reads were SO SLOW, he was always looking 50 yards down the field instead of taking what the defense gave him. Tom was just quicker at getting the ball to a receiver.

  2. Gus says:

    Drew Bledsoe always was a class act. He doesn’t get the recognition he deserves (along with Kraft, Parcells, Belichick, and Brady) for the role he played in the history of the New England Patriots.

  3. Mike says:

    Bledsoe deserves the Pats HOF nod for being a true Patriot and allowing the team’s goals to be put ahead of his own. Sucks to be Wally Pipped but we’re talking about TFB here.

  4. Ben says:

    Bledsoe was and is a class act. I agree with him that you never know what would have happened if he didn’t get hurt. Remember the Brady of today is not the player he was in 2001. He gets my vote for the Pats Hall

  5. Sammied says:

    Brady is a good quartetback however he will never be the class act that Bledsoe is. Never met them but I think Beldsoe is the ‘better man”.

  6. JustMyOpinion says:

    Sorry Bledsoe you were not all that good. The right move was Brady. Be thankful they let you play in the AFC champ game. Thank God they didn’t let you play in the Superbowl. You didn’t deserve it.

    1. Beantowndaddy says:

      Just Fyi if Brady doesn’t get hurt there is no Superbowl! He was getting killed against Pitt in that game.Brady is the Better QB but there is only 2 trophies in Foxboro if it weren’t for Bledsoe.

      1. Max Powers says:

        Bledsoe?? Really?? Brady had the better preseason…it’s not close

  7. Suzanne says:

    Bledsoe was, and will always be, one of the classiest guys to ever play for the Pats. It would have been difficult for him to continue to work with the Pats, especially with Belicheat at the helm. It was easier for Brady since both he and Belicheat would have done anything to win — and they’ve got those Super Bowl rings to prove it. And that’s just *my* opinion.

  8. Brad Minyard says:

    Drew Bledsoe is so delusional LOL. The numbers speak for themselves. Brady is a better QB in terms of statistics, winning %, and championships. There’s really no comparison.

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