Marion 'floored' by Pats' Hall of Fame nomination

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Marion 'floored' by Pats' Hall of Fame nomination

Fred Marion is one of three finalists for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame this year, along with Troy Brown and Bill Parcells.

Parcells was a nominee in 2011 when Drew Bledsoe was ultimately selected by fans for induction.

Marion and Brown are first-year nominees and both were available on conference calls Tuesday to discuss the honor.

Marion, a safety from the University of Miami was taken in the fifth round in 1982 and was an All-Pro in 1985. He had 29 career interceptions and was named to the Patriots All-'80s team and the 35th and 50th anniversary teams.

"Im very floored by the mere nomination to the Patriots Hall of Fame," said Marion. "I definitely want to thank Mr. Robert Kraft for actually making it all possible, what a wonderful family. I just cant say enough great things about the way he treated the former players who played long before he owned the team and just extended his kindness to us and let us not be forgotten, that speaks volumes. I am very honored to even be nominated."

Brown would seem to be the heavy favorite to win induction when voting is opened to the public.

Houston Antwine, a six-time AFL All Star and a member of the AFL's All-Time Team, was the third nominee in 2011.

But Antwine's support as a conventional nominee dried up last month when some members of the Hall panel deemed Antwine's chances of beating out Brown to be slim. Rather than put him up again, some voters decided to leave Antwine off their ballots and allow the veteran's committee to address him in the future. Which opened the door for Marion to become a nominee.

Marion was asked what he'd like people to recall about his 10-year career.

"Id like them to remember that I was always prepared and I left everything on the field," he explained. "I came to play and I think that I was always around the ball. I was a student of the game. I always did a lot of film study and I wasnt afraid to make contact. I would come up and hit the best of them, and wasnt afraid to be an aggressive player. I played in the secondary. I think I played a great centerfield as a free safety, always trying to fool the opposing quarterback, let him think they had something when there was nothing there. I was able to go get the ball. Id like to be remembered as I played the game the way we played the game back then and thats hard and physical on each and every down."Marion, who is currently a sales manager at a Toyota dealership in Sanford, Florida, was asked if he ever feels like he was built a decade or so too early.

"I think everything has its purpose and everything has its time," he said. "I was fortunate to be able to play when I played and Im sure like a lot of other guys who pioneered the game, you always wish you were born at a later time. Unfortunately, our time was our time. I think that Gods in control of everything. Im a true believer in that. I was fortunate to play in the era I played in."

Wilfork on Body Issue: 'Looking forward to what the locker room's going to say'

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Wilfork on Body Issue: 'Looking forward to what the locker room's going to say'

ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue won't hit newsstands until July 8, but Vince Wilfork gave people a not-so-little preview of what to expect this week.

The former Patriots defensive lineman, who is listed at 325 pounds but said he's weighed as much as 350 pounds, sat down for an interview about his size that landed on ESPN.com on Thursday.

"I just think it's a good idea for people that are bigger-boned," Wilfork said when asked why he posed nude for the Body Issue. "If people can look at me, a guy that's 325-plus, doing an issue like this, I'm pretty sure that they might have a little confidence.

"There will be critics, just like with everything else. I think a lot of people will get a laugh out of it, I'll tell you that. I'm looking forward to what the locker room's going to say. But at the end of the day, I'm perfectly fine with who I am as a person and what I have accomplished. It shows a lot of my personality."

You can read the full interview here, as well as watch a video that shows Wilfork in all his modeling glory.

Brady, Gronkowski make Top 10 of NFL Network's Top 100

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Brady, Gronkowski make Top 10 of NFL Network's Top 100

Ask a football fan in New England, and he or she might tell you that Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are the top two players in the NFL. A random NFL player might not be as generous, but on balance, Brady and Gronkowski's peers consider the Patriots stars to be among the top 10 talents in the league. 

The NFL Network announced the final 10 players to be included in their annual Top 100 list, a list voted on by players, and both Brady and Gronkowski made the cut.

The order of the top 10 has been determined, but has not yet been announced. Brady and Gronkowski are in the running for No. 1 alongside Odell Beckham Jr., Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, Luke Kuechly, Cam Newton, Adrian Peterson, Aaron Rodgers and JJ Watt. 

The weekly series, which has counted down Nos. 100-11, will end on Wednesday, July 6 with two, one-hour episodes on NFL Network at 8 and 9 p.m. Highlights of each player will be featured, as will interviews with some of their teammates and competitors. 

"He plays with a chip on his shoulder he’s always had," Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins said of Brady, "that really separates him."

Of Rob Gronkowski, Texans corner Charles James II said, "He's a glitch on Madden."

The only other Patriots players included in the Top 100 were Julian Edelman (who came in at No. 87) and Chandler Jones (No. 48). Jones, now a member of the Cardinals, was the only Patriots defender involved. 

Corner Malcolm Butler, linebackers Jamie Collins and Dont'a Hightower and safety Devin McCourty all had an argument to be included but were left off. 

NFL.com contributors Gregg Rosenthal, Chris Wesseling, Maurice Jones-Drew and Ike Taylor put together their own individual Top 100 lists to supplement the one voted on by current players. Rosenthal included Collins (No. 64), McCourty (No. 73) and Butler (No. 99) in addition to Edelman (No. 84). Wesseling included Collins (No. 43), McCourty (No. 88) and Hightower (No. 91), but not Edelman. Jones-Drew included both Edelman (No. 62) and Butler (No. 95). Taylor included only Edelman (No. 89).