Brady was not the first Patriots’ quarterback to play with a pin in his body. Drew Bledsoe, Brady’s predecessor, had surgery on a broken right-index finger and a pin inserted to keep things stable during the 1998 season.
The injury was suffered during a memorable 26-23 Monday night victory over the Miami Dolphins on Nov. 23 in Foxborough. Broken finger and all, Bledsoe found Shawn Jefferson for the game-winning TD with 29 seconds to play.
Six days later, Bledsoe toughed it out again. He led the Patriots to a thrilling 25-21 victory over Buffalo and Doug Flutie that ended with an 82-yard drive and 1-yard TD pass to Ben Coates with no time left. Bledsoe’s season ended with a 32-18 loss to St. Louis two weeks later after he re-injured the finger.
He was replaced by backup and current radio analyst Scott Zolak for the final two games of the season. The Zolak-led Patriots went 1-1 before losing to Jacksonville 25-10 in a wild-card playoff game.