Thursday, September 25, 2008

Brown out at the Razor

Troy Brown has officially announced his retirement.

It was hard not to see it coming. He lost last season to injury, and didn't want to play anywhere else.

A pick in a round of the draft that no longer even exists, Troy Brown was as clutch as anyone to ever play for the Patriots - including Tom Brady. He was everything the Patriots needed - receiver, returner, defensive back. He even took pre-season snaps at quarterback. He was the consummate team player. He will never make the Hall of Fame with his numbers, but no one in this era has done what he has done. Not like him.

Often when the team needed a play at a critical juncture, Troy Brown was the man.

During a late season game back in December of 1996 when the Pats trailed the Giants in the Meadowlands, Brown, lying on his back, snared a Bledsoe bullet out of the air for a 13 yard gain on 3rd and 13 to help keep the game winning drive moving.

In the 2001 playoffs Brown came up big against Pittsburgh, contributing to two special teams touchdowns - one on a blocked field goal attempt, the other on a punt return.

In 2004 with the team's defensive backfield decimated by injury, Brown became the team's nickel corner, tied for second on the team with three interceptions while still catching 17 balls for 184 yards. While neither of those numbers are particularly impressive, Brown was pressed into service as a defender again in 2006, virtually shutting down Donald Driver in a late season match-up.

Driver, at the time, was on pace for 1233.2 receiving yards and six touchdowns. Driver finished the season with 1295 yards and 8 touchdowns - in spite of being held to only two receptions for 42 yards (only one of those came while being covered by Brown). Brown effectively shut Driver down.

Speaking as someone who coached kids, Brown was my consummate example - he did everything asked and whatever was needed. He is the Patriots all-time leader in receptions, he was a game-changing kick and punt returner, he was a more than serviceable defensive back, and was listed as the team's fourth quarterback on the depth charts. I suspect he would have played nose tackle had his coach asked him to.

He has always been the sort of player that every team needs to win - the monkey wrench, the guy who grinds it out and gets it done. He's not the most talented guy you'll find. But in his prime, he's one of the first, if not the first guy I would have picked for my team.

Good luck Troy, I already miss watching you on Sundays. You deserve any accolades that come your way.


Suldog said...

Purely a class act. I wish I could have seen him catch one more pass before he left...

MCBias said...

Well-said, I've always admired those players who can play several positions at once when needed.