Like many New England fans, Drew Bledsoe got to know Terry Glenn because he was drafted by the Patriots in 1996. And both the fans as well as Bledsoe got to witness Glenn’s artistry as a wide receiver, where he helped to catapult the Patriots into a Super Bowl as a rookie.
Yet unlike the fans, Bledsoe also got to know Glenn, playing with him on two NFL teams during their respective careers. Aside from their prolific on-field connection, the two were friends outside of football.
In a piece for Sports Illustrated written only hours after hearing the news of Glenn’s passing, Bledsoe recalled some of his favorite memories of the late wide receiver, as well as a few regrets:
This is a truly sad day for me. Terry and I reminisced about how we would have rewritten the record books if only he could have stayed healthy and we had stayed together. We talked a few times about getting together for some golf and then grabbing a football and hitting the field for a few routes. I was really looking forward to throwing him just one more Dino Post, one more out route. We had a connection. I knew where he was going to be and could let it fly. I can see it so clearly even now …
Bledsoe noted that for all of his admiration of Glenn’s talent, he occasionally grew frustrated with him. But eventually learning about Glenn’s background made him more empathetic:
I wound up pissed off at him a number of times. Until I finally took the time to understand …
My buddy grew up in the worst of circumstances. When I finally took the time to try to see the world through his eyes he told me, “Everyone I ever loved or trusted either betrayed me or died. I decided I just wouldn’t let anyone in so I wouldn’t get hurt anymore.” That recognition ultimately allowed him to slowly come around and learn to love and trust people.
And Bledose paid him the highest football praise, crediting the Patriots’ run to Super Bowl XXXI to Glenn’s playmaking ability:
Terry set rookie records for receptions and yards despite being limited by hamstring problems early in the season. We surprised everyone that year by making a run to the Super Bowl. There is no way we would have touched that level of success without Terry’s explosive playmaking ability.