Free agency is for all intents and purposes over. The draft has finally come and gone. With the exception of the one day a week that the media has access to organized team activities, there’s not much to go over that hasn’t already been over-analyzed – so with that in mind here is the fourth in a series of historical perspectives at who has previously worn the uniform number of the 2014 additions to the roster of the New England Patriots. Unless noted otherwise all the players listed took part in at least one regular or playoff game in the season noted for the Pats.
Patrick Chung is the latest member of the Patriots to don the number 23; here is a look at those who have preceded him to wear that jersey over the years during the franchise history of the Patriots.
23 โ Safety Patrick Chung
- The 5’11″, 210 pound 26-year old signed with the Patriots April 3rd. The Pats originally drafted him in the second round, 34th overall, in 2009 out of Oregon. Chung played in 50 games with the Patriots from 2009-12, with 231 tackles, seven interceptions, three sacks, one fumble recovery and one touchdown; he also appeared in seven playoff games for the Pats. After one season in Philadelphia Chung re-signed a one-year deal with New England that included a $740,000 base salary, a $60,000 signing bonus, and another bonus of $15,000 for each game that he is on the 46-man roster.
Note: Chung wore number 25 when he was with the Patriots from 2009-12; that is now being worn by Kyle Arrington.
2012-13: CB Marquice Cole
- Cole was originally signed by Oakland in 2007 as an undrafted free agent out of Northwestern, where he had seven interceptions and ten passes defensed in two seasons as a starter. The Raiders cut him at the end of camp and he spent ’07 on Tennessee’s practice squad. The Titans cut him at the end of camp in ’08, and near the end of the season Cole was signed by the Saints to their practice squad. He spent ’09 with the Jets’ practice squad, and then played 37 games with them from 2010-12. His play on special teams caught Bill Belichick’s eye, and the Patriots signed him as a free agent in March of 2012. That year he played in 14 regular season games and two playoff games, finishing the season with 12 tackles, one interception, three passes defensed and seven special teams tackles. In 2013 he was signed and cut three times, appearing in ten games with one pick, one fumble recovery and two pass deflections. He was signed by the Broncos in January of 2014, and is still on their roster.
2009-11: CB Leigh Bodden
- Bodden went to school at division 1-AA Duquesne, and went undrafted in 2002; he signed with the Browns and made the club as a nickel back and special teams player. In 2005 under new head coach Romeo Crenel, Bodden became a starter at corner and finished with three picks and two forced fumbles. In 2008 he was traded to Detroit for DT Shaun Rogers, but was released a year later. The Pats signed him as a free agent and he finished the season with five interceptions and two fumble recoveries. His most memorable game came against the Jets, as he started things off with a 53-yard pick-six to give the Pats an early lead; by the end of the day Bodden had three interceptions to lead the Patriots to a 31-14 victory.
Unfortunately Bodden required surgery due to a torn rotator cuff and was placed on injured reserve on August 31, 2010, and was never the same. After missing the entire 2010 season he was unable to rehab with team doctors in 2011 due to the lockout, his play had deteriorated. In week one he was reduced to playing nickel, with Ras-I Dowling replacing him on the outside. Bill Belichick wanted Bodden to become the slot corner, a position Bodden did not want to play. By ‘mutual agreement’ the Pats released him after five games and went with Devin McCourty, Dowling and Kyle Arrington as their cornerbacks. For his NFL career Bodden played in 95 games, with 18 interceptions, one touchdown, seven fumble recoveries and 309 tackles.
2008: CB Jason Webster
- Webster was a 2nd round draft pick (48th overall) in 2000 from Texas A&M. He spent four years with the 49ers, four with the Falcons, and one with Buffalo before joining the Patriots at age 31 at the end of his career. He played 90 games over nine seasons, with 11 interceptions, two touchdowns and 343 tackles. The Patriots signed him early in free agency in 2008, but he was cut at the end of August. On November 5th the Pats re-signed Webster when they placed Shawn Crable on IR. He played in three games with one forced fumble and three tackles, before landing on IR himself with an ankle injury. These days Webster is the team chaplain for another of his former teams, the Atlanta Falcons.
2006-07: S Willie Andrews
- At Baylor Andrews led the NCAA in punt returns with 41 in 2004, and also led the Big 12 in punt return yards (443) and kickoff return yards (741). The Patriots took him in the 7th round of the 2006 draft, 229th overall. With the Patriots he primarily played special teams, and scored a 77-yard touchdown on a kickoff return with a heads-up play against Miami in ’07.
Two days after Super Bowl 42 Andrews had a half pound of weed and over $6,000 in cash in an unregistered car; he was arrested for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and for operating an unregistered motor vehicle. Just a few months later he was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm after a domestic dispute, and the Patriots cut him the next day. In 2009 Andrews finished his pro football career with the Florida Tuskers of the UFL.
2005: CB Duane Starks
- Starks was a member of the 1996 national championship team at the University of Miami, and was selected 10th overall in 1998 by the Ravens. In 2000 he intercepted a pass in the Super Bowl that sealed the win for Baltimore, and then signed as a free agent with Arizona. After Ty Law left as a free agent the Patriots traded two draft picks (3.95, 5.168) to the Cardinals for Starks and an earlier 5th (5.145). Expectations were never met, as the 31-year old was constantly burnt and had no interceptions; after seven games he was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury. The Pats released him in February 2006 and signed with Oakland; after appearing in just three games in ’06 the Raiders released him in May of 2008, and after getting no other offers he officially retired in 2009.
2004: CB Omare Lowe
- Lowe was drafted in the 5th round by Miami in 2002, and played one game for the Dolphins in ’02 and two for the Jets in ’03. After spending time on the practice squad for Tennessee in ’03 and Minnesota in ’04, Lowe went back and forth between the active roster and practice squad three times for the Patriots in 2004, replacing injured players in what was a decimated secondary; he played in three games for the Pats with no stats. From 2005-08 he was with Seattle, Atlanta, and Jacksonville; he finished his NFL career with 43 games played and 42 tackles.
2000-03: Sย Antwan Harris
- Harris was drafted out of Virginia by the Patriots in the 6th round, 187th overall, of the 2000 draft. His rookie season he made his first and only NFL interception off Peyton Manning in a 24-16 victory over the Colts. Although he was a backup and special teams player, Harris had a pair of key plays in the 2001 championship playoff run. In the AFCCG against the Steelers Harris was on the receiving end of the famous Troy Brown lateral after the blocked field goal, running the ball in 49 yards for a touchdown, Then in Super Bowl 36, Harris hit Rick Proehl and forced a fumble that Terrell Buckley recovered to set up a touchdown that gave the Pats a 14-3 lead just before halftime. Harris played in 52 games with the Patriots over four years, and earned two Super Bowl rings with the Pats.
1999: CB Terry Billups
- Billups played college ball at North Carolina, where he played in 34 games despite two shoulder surgeries. After going undrafted he decided to sign on with the Patriots in ’98 because Jimmy Hitchcock had departed, creating an opening. Billups was cut after the fourth preseason game, but was re-signed to the club’s practice squad. Dallas signed him later that season, and on Thanksgiving he appeared in his only game for the Cowboys. In 1999 he played for Rhein Fire of NFL Europe, and then Paete Carroll re-signed; he played in the final two games of the ’99 season, with one start. The Patriots let Billups go in March of 2000; in 2001 Billups joined the Los Angeles Xtreme of the XFL for training camp, but did not make the final roster.
1997-98: RB Sedrick Shaw
- To this day Shaw is still the University of Iowa’s leading rusher; he ran for 4,156 yards and 33 touchdowns, and also had 438 receiving yards, 380 yards on kickoff returns and 35 total touchdowns for Hayden Fry. The Patriots drafted him at the top of the third round, 61st overall in the 1997 draft, but he appeared in only one game with no carries in the regular season. When Curtis Martin was injured in the playoff game against Pittsburgh Shaw was finally called upon, but gained only 22 yards in ten carries. Martin went to the Jets the following year, but Shaw still didn’t get much playing time: he had only 48 carries for 236 yards while rookie Robert Edwards got the bulk of the work, with 291 rushes for 1,115 yards and 12 total touchdowns.
On February 5, 2009, Edwards dislocated his knee and nearly lost his leg in a flag football game in Hawaii as part of the Pro Bowl festivities. Despite that the Patriots left Shaw unprotected four days later in the expansion draft, but Cleveland took tackle Scott Rehberg, allowing the Pats to retain Shaw. Two months later the Patriots traded Shaw, who they obviously had no faith in, to the Browns for a draft pick. That season he appeared in three games for Cleveland and one for Cincinnati, and did not play in the NFL again, ending his rather disappointing pro football career.
1993-96: S Terry Ray
- Ray was drafted in the 6th round, 158th overall in the 1992 draft by Atlanta after compiling seven interceptions with the Oklahoma Sooners. He played ten games with the Falcons, and after being released the Patriots claimed him off waivers the following off-season. Ray spent four years with the Patriots, including a trip to the Super Bowl against the Packers. He played 63 games with New England, with four interceptions, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, and 117 tackles.
Ray later went on to play six seasons in the CFL, where he was an all-star three times, and was part of one Grey Cup championship team. In 2000 he was named the top defensive player in the West Division and was the runner-up as the Outstanding Defensive Player in the league. In his CFL career Ray had ten picks, nine fumble recoveries, 15 sacks, and one touchdown on a 92-yard fumble return. Ray was also a strong contributor on special teams, hitting double figures in special teams tackles in five of his six seasons; twice, Ray had over 90 defensive tackles and over a 100 total tackles in a season.
After his playing days ended Ray worked as a pro scout for the Redskins for four years; he has earned his MBA from Stanford and is now an agent and vice president at ProStar Sports Agency.
1984-90: CB Rod McSwain
- McSwain attended Clemson, and his senior year he was All-ACC with 44 tackles (32 unassisted), two interceptions and 11 passes defensed. His sophomore season the Tigers were national champions; in a 29-13 victory over South Carolina McSwain got the scoring started by blocking a punt that was recovered by another future Patriot, Johnny Rembert, while his brother Chuck rushed for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Atlanta drafted McSwain in the third round, 63rd overall, in 1984; the Pats acquired him at final roster cutdowns in exchange for a draft pick.
McSwain played all seven years of his NFL career with New England, mostly as a reserve and nickel back, and was a standout on special teams. In ’86 he blocked a punt and returned for a touchdown against the rams, and then in the regular season finale he intercepted a Dan Marino pass to seal the victory, and clinch the AFC East over the Jets. McSwain finished his NFL career with six interceptions and 90 games played; he then played two seasons in the Arena league, winning a championship there with the Detroit Drive.
1981: S Kevin Donnalley
- Donnalley played his college ball at North Dakota State, the same school that produced Patriot great Steve Nelson. Drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 7th round (171st overall) of the 1981 draft, Donnalley played just one game in his NFL career, with the Pats in’81. After that Donnalley played for Jim Mora and the Philadelphia Stars, who made it to the ’83 championship game in the USFL, and with the Washington Federals in ’84. Since then he Donnalley has been a defensive backs coach at North Dakota State and Montana State, head coach at D-II Fort Lewis, defensive coordinator at NDSU, and is now an area manager at Border States, a wholesale electrical and construction company.
1977-81: RB Horace Ivory
- On April 5th the 3-11 Patriots made what turned out to be a crucial (and lopsided) trade, sending quarterback Jim Plunkett to San Francisco in exchange for joureyman quarterback Tom Owen, Tom Owen, two 1976 first round picks (#12, Pete Brock, and #21, Tim Fox), a 1977 first round pick (#16, Raymond Clayborn), and a 1977 second round pick (#44: Horace Ivory). At this point Plunkett was a beaten mess behind a porous offensive line, and had mercifully been replaced by rookie Steve Grogan. That trade was the impetus for a huge turnaround, as Chuck Fairbanks’ club transformed from a three-win team to a three-loss team that would have won the Super Bowl the following season if not for the horrible call by Ben Dreith in the playoffs against Oakland.
In two seasons at Oklahoma Ivory averaged 6.5 yards per carry, and in 1976 he rushed for 11 touchdowns, third most in the NCAA that year. The Patriots selected Ivory in the second round of the ’77 draft, 44th overall, but saw little playing time his rookie season due to a thigh injury. In ’78 Ivory was part of a five-headed monster running game, along with Sam Sunningham, Andy Johnson, Grogan and Don Calhoun, that rushed for an NFL-record 3,165 yards, 181 first-downs and won the AFC East before melting down in the playoffs when it was announced that Fairbanks was leaving for a much more lucrative payday as a college coach. In that 1978 season Ivory averaged 4.9 yards per carry, rushing for 693 yards and 11 touchdowns – and became the first running back in franchise history to rush for a touchdown in five consecutive games (a streak since topped by Curtis Martin (7, in 1996) and Robert Edwards (6, in 1998), and equaled by Laurence Maroney in 2009.
In 1980 Ivory took over as the team’s kick returner, and he led the NFL with an average of 27.6 yards per return. Unfortunately he was slowed down by knee, ankle, and shoulder injuries, and was traded to Seattle during the 1981 season. Ivory finished his career as a Patriot with 1,336 yards and 14 touchdowns rushing, 433 yards and two touchdowns receiving, and 1,191 yards and one touchdown on kick returns. When he left the Pats he ranked 5th all-time in rushing touchdowns, 8th in rushing yardage and 5th in kick return yardage; today he ranks 16th in rushing touchdowns, 22nd in rushing yards, 25th in rushing attempts, and 17th in kick return yards in the team’s record books.
1974: RB Joe Wilson
- Wilson was a local guy, from Jamaica Plain High School (the only person from JP to play in the NFL) and Holy Cross, drafted by the Bengals in the 8th round (199th overall) in the 1973 draft. At the time Wilson held the all-time school records at Holy Cross for most rushing yards in a single game (274 against Rutgers in 1972), a single season (973 in 1971) and a career (2,350). In 1978 he was enshrined into the Holy Cross Hall of Fame. In twelve games with the Pats he rushed 15 times for 57 yards, and caught three passes for 38 yards. In his two-year NFL career Wilson totaled 96 yards rushing and 38 yards receiving in 25 games, along with ten kickoff returns for an average of 20.6 yards.
1972-73: CB George Hoey
- Hoey was drafted 346th overall in the 14th round of the 1969 draft, out of Michigan. He led the Big Ten Conference in punt return yards in 1967 and 1968, and still holds Michigan’s modern era (post-1949) records for most punt return yards in a game (140), most return yards per punt in a season (24.3) and most return yards per punt in a career (17.1). He played for the Cardinals, Patriots, Chargers, Jets and Broncos, with his two years in New England being the most he spent in one place, and never played on a team with a winning record. Hoey played in 53 NFL games and had four punt returns for 38 return yards, 21 kickoff returns for 534 return yards, and two interceptions for 45 return yards; he played 25 games with the Patriots, with one interception and nine kickoff returns for 210 yards (23.3 yards per return. After his pro football career ended Hoey worked in administration as a career counselor at the University of Colorado.
1968-70: CB Daryl Johnson
- Not to be confused with Darrell Johnson, manager of the Reds Sox team that went to the World Series in 1975, Daryl Johnson started 42 games for the Pats at right corner. He was drafted out of Morgan State in 1968 in 8th round, 197th overall, after being named the 1967 NCAA Small College Player of the Year. He had five interceptions, two fumble recoveries (one for a 32-yard touchdown), and a safety. Johnson suffered a broken leg and did not play again for the Patriots, though he did play a couple years in the World Football League. Johnson started every game for three years for the Pats, and was named to the club’s All-Decade team of the 60′s as well as the Morgan State Hall of Fame.
1961-67: S Ron Hall
- After graduating from Missouri Valley College in 1959, Hall was drafted by Pittsburgh in the 28th round, 331st overall. He only played two games with the Steelers (with one pick and one fumble recovery), and in 1961 he signed on with the Patriots. Lou Saban cut Hall, but as soon as Mike Holovak replaced Saban he re-signed him – one of many decisions that made Holovak such a better coach than Saban. Hall was a starter on the Patriots team that went to the 1963 AFL Championship game, and was an AFL All-Star in ’63 and ’64. To this day he still holds the franchise records for most interceptions in one season (11) and most interceptions in one game (3), and for two decades he also held the club record for career interceptions (29), since topped by only Raymond Clayborn and Ty Law. Hall was named to the Pats All-Decade Team of the 1960′s in 2009, as part of the 50th anniversary of the franchise.
In 1968 he was taken by the Bengals in the expansion draft, but never played for Cincinnati. After his pro football career ended Hall returned to Missouri and taught physical education in high school and coached football for 15 years, and then taught phys ed in elementary school for another 15 years while also coaching golf. In 1971 he was named to the Missouri Valley College Hall of Fame, and in 2011 he was named to the NAIA Hall of Fame.
1960: RB Dick Christy
- After scoring 13 touchdowns in his senior year at North Carolina State, Christy was a first-team All-American and ACC Player of the Year. He was drafted in the third round (27th overall) by Green Bay in 1958, but after an injury in the College All-Star Game the Packers traded him to Pittsburgh. In 1960 he signed on with the Patriots and the fledgling AFL, where he scored five touchdowns (three rushing, two receiving). He averaged 4.7 yards per carry rushing 78 times for 363 yards, and caught 26 passes out of the backfield for 268 yards. In addition Christy returned eight punts for an average of 9.1 yards, and 24 kicks at 25.7 yards per return.
The following April Christy was traded with Alan Miller and Hal Smith to Oakland in exchange for Babe Parilli and Billy Lott. He eventually ended up with the Titans, where he led the AFL in punt returns (yards, average, longest return and touchdowns) in both 1961 and 62, and also led the AFL in kick returns, kick return yards, and all-purpose yards in 1962. That season he had a total of eight touchdowns, and was named to the AFL All-Star team. He played one more season with the Jets (as they were now known), and finished his pro football career with 19 touchdowns. Christy died in a car accident on July 8, 1966 at the age of 30.
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