By Tom E. CurranFOXBORO - Troy Brown is going into the Patriots Hall of Fame this weekend. To me, he represents more than any other player the "new era" Patriots that really began in the mid-90s and he absolutely was the guy most emblematic of the franchise's mindset as it won three Super Bowls in four seasons. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady were both asked their opinions of Brown. First, Belichick, who coached or coached against Brown for Brown's entire career. "Great career," said Belichick. "I cant think of anybody more deserving to go in than him. Special player came in very unheralded, worked his way up on the roster offensively. Returned kicks, ended up playing for us defensively, championships, played at a very high level and played his best football in big games. Troy was a great leader. Worked as hard as anybody, unselfishly, always did what we asked him to do from a team standpoint whether it was block, catch passes, return kicks, cover kicks, cover receivers. He truly was a good player in all three phases of the game, an outstanding player offensively and in the kicking game. Always did it for the good of the team and he was a big reason why we won a lot of games while I was coaching while he was here. You can never really replace a guy like that; hes just special. Very deserving."One of Brown's most remarkable seasons was the worst record-wisesince 1993. It was 2000, Belichick's first year as head coach when Brown had 83 catches for 944 yards on an offense that was without a potent running game and was the team's top punt returner.That Brown was about 60 percent of the offense was proposed to Belichick."At least," said Belichick. "It was like 80 percent of the passing game. Yeah, just find another way to get him the ball. He carried a lot of the load and was productive for us in the kicking game, especially in 01 the punt return against Cleveland, obviously, the punt return against Pittsburgh in the AFC Championship game. He made plays on special teams that put us in position to win some games with the returns, as well as what he did offensively, converting third downs and keeping the chains moving, giving our defense a little bit of a break."When asked about Brown, Brady said, "Troy is a great friend of mine. Hes just a special player and friend and teammate. Weve been in the huddle for a lot of years. Its really a great honor for him. He certainly deserves it. When you think of a Patriots player and attitude, thats the first guy that comes to mind. Everyone will be excited for him. We see him here from time to time. I know he still wishes he could get out and play with us. He says hes always got three or four more plays left in him but hes getting a little heavy to me so I dont know about that."
The Wells investigation says Tom Brady 'was at least generally aware' that game balls were deflated, but adds there's no evidence Robert Kraft or Bill Belichick had 'knowledge of wrongdoing.'