Brown ready for his induction to Patriots Hall

881233.jpg

Brown ready for his induction to Patriots Hall

FOXBORO -- Troy Brown stood in the Hall at Patriot Place and watched some of his old highlights cued up on a video screen. Most of the plays barely elicited a reaction, save one. It was the catch he made during the Patriots' Super Bowl-winning drive against the Rams on February 3, 2002.

"Was that really 11 years ago?" he asked, looking up from the screen for a moment.

Yes, Brown's getting older, and when he returns to Foxboro, the reminders are all around. But, for the former Patriot great, with age have come honors and remembrances of a job well-done. He'll receive the franchise's highest honor on Saturday as he's inducted into the team's Hall of Fame.

"I think this is just a great way to cap off what everybody has been talking about, a great career that I put together for myself with the help of so many people," Brown said, donning his new red sports coat with the Patriots' Hall of Fame logo, signifying his induction. "You cant get any greater honor than this when youre a Patriot."

Brown reminisced about some of his career's defining moments Thursday, including a few of its lower points. Though he helped the team win three championships, his 15 years in New England were far from one big Super Bowl parade.

In his rookie season, he was released by then-coach Bill Parcells.

"Being cut is not fun,'' Brown said. "I was out for over half the season that year. I came back and I lost my number. I used to be Irving Fryar (No. 81) and I came back as Stanley Morgan (80). It wasn't fun. Parcells kind of beat me up a little bit when I got back.

"When the season was over, I was a free agent. I didn't know if he was going to sign me again. He did. He gave me another opportunity and it's been pretty good since then.''

Very good, in fact. Brown racked up 557 receptions for 6,636 yards and 31 touchdowns in his career as a receiver. An eighth-round draft pick, he also excelled on special teams and famously made the transition to defensive back when coach Bill Belichick need him there.

Vince Wilfork, who was Brown's teammate for four seasons, spoke glowingly of Brown, but more so for what Brown did off the field than on it.

"That guy, hell give you the shirt off his back," Wilfork said. "Hes just one hell of a person, not just football, but as a person, hes a great, great man.

Brown, 41, was asked at one point if he still felt as though he could play.

"Every once in a while I do," Brown said. "I can call Bill Belichick up right now and tell him I got about four or five good ones in me, but in all actuality it would probably be one play and then Im done."

Yes, he's getting older and he knows it. But he'll always take pride in the fact that as a younger man, he helped build the Patriots franchise into what it's become today.

"You hear people talk all the time about what it means to be a Patriot," Wilfork said. "He's a symbol of a Patriot."

Bill Belichick says Brad Stevens has given him 'a lot of insight' on coaching

Bill Belichick says Brad Stevens has given him 'a lot of insight' on coaching

Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters last week that spending time with Bill Belichick can make you "feel pretty inadequate as a coach."

But Belichick raved about Stevens during a conference call on Sunday. The two spent time together on Friday night for the Hall of Fame Huddle fundraiser to benefit Belichick's foundation, and the Patriots coach explained that he's learned a lot from the Celtics boss.

"Got to know Brad ove the last couple of years," Belichick said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he's done, taking a young team, a team that we barely knew some of the players on the team, and in a couple of years has built them into a strong team last year and played very competitively in the playoffs. Fun to go over there and watch them.

"Brad and I have talked about a lot of things that are just coaching-related. Obviously the sports are different. I don't know anything about basketball, and he says he doesn't know much about football. It's really not about Xs and Os and that kind of thing. It's more the other parts of coaching: Prepartion, training, team work, team-building, confidence, communication, players and coaches relationships and so forth.

"Obviously we're in the same business in taking more people to training camp than we can keep on a roster, then managing a roster and dealing with things that happen during the year with that roster, whether it's bringing other guys onto the team, trades and so forth. We've chatted about a lot of those things. He's given me a lot of insight.

"I'd say some of the players they get are a little younger than the guys we get on average. Kids that are coming out of college after one year, we get them after three years or four. Just the trans from college to pro which he obviously has a lot of experience with. Coming to the New England area for most players, that's an adjustment, we don't get too many guys from this area. All of those things like that."

Bill Belichick says Brad Stevens has given him 'a lot of insight' on coaching

Bill Belichick says Brad Stevens has given him 'a lot of insight' on coaching

Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters last week that spending time with Bill Belichick can make you "feel pretty inadequate as a coach."

But Belichick raved about Stevens during a conference call on Sunday. The two spent time together on Friday night for the Hall of Fame Huddle fundraiser to benefit Belichick's foundation, and the Patriots coach explained that he's learned a lot from the Celtics boss.

"Got to know Brad ove the last couple of years," Belichick said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for what he's done, taking a young team, a team that we barely knew some of the players on the team, and in a couple of years has built them into a strong team last year and played very competitively in the playoffs. Fun to go over there and watch them.

"Brad and I have talked about a lot of things that are just coaching-related. Obviously the sports are different. I don't know anything about basketball, and he says he doesn't know much about football. It's really not about Xs and Os and that kind of thing. It's more the other parts of coaching: Prepartion, training, team work, team-building, confidence, communication, players and coaches relationships and so forth.

"Obviously we're in the same business in taking more people to training camp than we can keep on a roster, then managing a roster and dealing with things that happen during the year with that roster, whether it's bringing other guys onto the team, trades and so forth. We've chatted about a lot of those things. He's given me a lot of insight.

"I'd say some of the players they get are a little younger than the guys we get on average. Kids that are coming out of college after one year, we get them after three years or four. Just the trans from college to pro which he obviously has a lot of experience with. Coming to the New England area for most players, that's an adjustment, we don't get too many guys from this area. All of those things like that."