FOXBOROUGH -- Thinking back to the 1994 season when he was released by the Patriots, out of football for weeks and working in a Boys and Girls Club in West Virginia, Troy Brown said it’s funny how things turn out.
“I was planning to go back to school in January and finishing up my degree,” he said. “That’s what you have to do when you don’t have a job and you’ve been out for almost two months."
The player who replaced him was actually a friend, Ronnie Harris, and he remembered watching a game against the Jets where Harris muffed a punt.
Then the phone call came, asking him to come back.
“I was blessed and I was lucky to get the phone call,” he said.
He ultimately put in 15 years with the Patriots, winning three Super Bowls playing multiple roles. Now, along with Bill Parcells and Fred Marion, he is one of the Patriots’s 2012 Hall of Fame finalists.
Brown was there for the Bill Parcells era, 1993-'96, when he said he first sensed the franchise’s transformation, reaching the Super Bowl in 1996 season.
Before that, the last Patriots team to reach the Super Bowl was Marion’s 1986 team, that made it as the wild card.
“I would say that run, that stretch we had right there was most memorable,” said Marion, who now resides in Orlando.
Though they played in different eras, Brown and Marion’s sentiments about the honor and how they’d like to be remembered were the same.
“I think I’ve said this before,” Brown said. “Maybe not the tallest or biggest or fastest or strongest or whatever, but just the best football player. Not the outstanding wide receiver or most outstanding punt returner, but I think overall pound-for-pound and everything else, best football player. I feel like I could do everything pretty well. It didn’t matter to me what coach asked me to do – if it was go in there and block, I just enjoyed playing the game.”