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."