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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Drew Bledsoe holds the ball for too long, gets sacked and enters the Patriots Hall of Fame

It's hard to think of a professional athlete in New England that has seen their legacy get tarnished more in the last decade than former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe.

It's ironic because from all accounts, the former No. 1 overall pick is a great guy and he left Foxborough on good terms. What hurt him so much rather than off the field drama was the fact that one of the alltime great quarterbacks in NFL history (Tom Brady) directly followed him and led the Patriots to three Super Bowl wins in four years and four Super Bowls overall (so far).

Still, Bledsoe deserves his share of credit from turning that hopeless franchise from a joke when he joined them in 1993 to a legitimate playoff team year after year when he left (after 2001). It was nice to see the fans respond as they voted Bledsoe into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

The announcement was made yesterday as Bledsoe was the 17th player and 18th member of the team to make the Hall of Fame. Since the new voting process was instituted in 2007, Bledsoe earned the highest percentage of votes (beating former head coach Bill Parcells and defensive lineman Houston Antwine) from fans and also became the first player to get voted in during his first year of eligibility.

Bledsoe will join Jon Morris, who was selected to the hall of fame by the senior selection committee, as the 2011 honorees. Bledsoe and Morris will be inducted in a public ceremony outside The Hall at Patriot Place on Saturday, Sept. 17.

During his nine-year Patriots career, he broke the Patriots' career passing records for attempts (4,518), completions (2,544) and yards (29,657). Bledsoe still holds the Patriots' single-season passing records for attempts (691) and completions (400) and is the only player in franchise history to pass for over 400 yards multiple times (4). He still holds the NFL record for attempts in a season (691 in 1994) and both attempts (70) and completions (45) in a game against Minnesota in 1994 that sparked a seven-game win streak, propelling the Patriots to their first playoff berth in eight years. Bledsoe led the Patriots to the playoffs four times in his first six seasons, helping the team earn back-to-back division titles and three consecutive playoff berths for the first time in franchise history. In 1996, he guided the Patriots to their second AFC Championship in franchise history and a trip to Super Bowl XXXI. Bledsoe is the only quarterback in NFL history with four seasons of at least 600 pass attempts, including three straight from 1994-96 with the Patriots.

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