New England, MU Legend Troy Brown Retires

Troy Brown retires from Pats

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Former Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown announced his retirement from football in a press conference at Gillette Stadium this morning. Brown, 36, spent his entire 15-season NFL career with the Patriots (1993-2007) after being drafted by the team in the eighth round (198th overall) of the 1993 NFL Draft out of Marshall, where he helped lead the Herd to a National Championship.

The 5-foot-10-inch, 196-pound receiver, punt returner and defensive back retires as the Patriots' all-time leading receiver with 557 career receptions and is also the team's all-time leading punt returner with 252 career returns. He places second in the team's record book with 6,366 career receiving yards and is tied for the franchise record with three punt returns for touchdowns.

Brown, who has been a resident of Huntington, W.Va. since signing with Marshall in 1991, has played in 192 games, placing him fourth on the franchise's all-time games played list, and his 15 seasons with the franchise ties Julius Adams for the second-longest tenure in a Patriots uniform (behind Steve Grogan's franchise-record 16 seasons). Brown was a five-time co-captain for the club (2002-06) and earned Pro Bowl honors in 2001. In 2004, he added defense to his resume as he saw significant action in the defensive backfield and finished second on the team with three interceptions. Brown's significant contributions in all three phases of the game - offense, defense and special teams - made him one of the most versatile and beloved players in the history of the Patriots franchise.

"Troy Brown to me is the consummate Patriot because of what he did on the field, the way he conducted himself off the field and the fact that he always put team first." said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft.

"It has truly been an honor and a privilege to coach Troy," said Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. "I think Troy, as I have talked about with our players, is the consummate professional." Brown lined up at receiver, returns, defensive back and even emergency quarterback for the Belichick-led Pats.

"I will always be a Patriot, just no longer in uniform," said Brown. "I want to thank Mr. Kraft and his family for allowing me to not just be a part of their football team but to be a part of their family also."

The Blackville, S.C. native was a key contributor to each of the Patriots' three Super Bowl runs. In 2001, Brown led the team with 18 post-season receptions as New England won its first world championship in Super Bowl XXXVI. In the championship game against the St. Louis Rams, Brown led the team with six receptions and 89 yards, including a key 23-yard grab on the game-winning drive. Two years later, he tied for the team lead with 17 playoff receptions as the Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVIII over Carolina. He was again a key contributor in that game, finishing second on the team with eight receptions, including three grabs on the game-winning drive. In 2004, Brown played on offense, defense and special teams in all three playoff games, recording a total of five receptions and six tackles during New England's Super Bowl XXXIX title run.


Troy Brown of the New England Patriots, shown during his playing days heading to the end zone against the Dolphins, announced his retirement from the National Football League on Thursday. photo from patriots.com

The Marshall University product was named to the Pro Bowl in 2001, a season in which he set what was then the Patriots' single-season franchise record with 101 receptions. That year, he recorded 1,199 receiving yards, which at the time placed him second on the team's single-season list. He followed up his record-setting campaign with a 97-catch season in 2002, a mark that ranked second in team history at the time. Also that year, he recorded a team-record 16 catches in a game against Kansas City at Gillette Stadium (9/22/02).

In 2004, Brown earned accolades for his play on offense, defense and special teams, showing a level of versatility unmatched in recent NFL history. After injuries had taken a toll on the Patriots' secondary, Brown pitched in as the team's nickel back for the final nine games of the regular season and for all three of the Patriots' post-season contests as New England won Super Bowl XXXIX. He finished second on the team with three interceptions in the 2004 regular season and matched his reception total with 17 tackles on defense.

In November 2006, Brown passed Stanley Morgan for first place on the Patriots' all-time receptions list with a first down catch along the sideline in a game against the Indianapolis Colts. In the 2006 divisional playoffs, Brown continued his knack for making big plays, forcing a key fumble in the Patriots' 24-21 victory over the San Diego Chargers. Following a Marlon McCree interception in the fourth quarter that appeared to seal the game for San Diego, Brown stripped the football from McCree and allowed Reche Caldwell to recover the loose ball and return possession to the Patriots.

Brown's career statistics include 192 games played (with 70 starts), 557 receptions for 6,366 yards and 31 touchdowns, 252 punt returns for 2,625 yards and three touchdowns, 87 kickoff returns for 1,862 yards, 30 rushes for 178 yards, 18 tackles (16 solo), three interceptions and five passes defended.

At Marshall, Brown led the Herd to back-to-back appearances in the I-AA National Championship, with the Herd winning the title in 1992 by 31-28 over Youngstown State University (coached by Ohio State head coach, Jim Tressel, with current Marshall head coach Mark Snyder as a YSU assistant). He came to Marshall as one of the final junior college players out of Lees-McRae, before it became a four-year school. Brown was All-State and All-conference in SC 4-A at Blackville High School, helping the 1988 team to a 14-1 mark and state championship.

At Marshall, he became one of the all-time greats to wear the Green and White. He was a two-time All-American on the Sports Network I-AA All-American team, first as a kick returner then as a wide receiver in 1992, when he was also first team Associated Press All-American. He is second behind Randy Moss, his teammate on the Patriots in last year's perfect regular season and loss in the Super Bowl, with 149.3 all-purpose yards per game over two seasons. He is second at MU with 101 receptions in 1992, only to College Football Hall of Fame member Mike Barber's 106, for 1,654 yards and 16 touchdowns.

His punt return average in '92 was 23.3 yards per return and he holds another Southern Conference record for most all-purpose yards in a game with 332 yards against VMI in 1991. He was first team All-SC in 1992, playing alongside of Marshall Hall of Fame members like Michael Payton, Phil Ratliff and Mike Bartrum, his teammate on the Pats on the team's first trip to the Super Bowl, falling to Green Bay in 1998.

Brown was drafted in the now discontinued eighth round of the 1993 draft by current Miami Dolphins general manager Bill Parcells, who had coached with Jim Donnan. Donnan, another MU HOF member, was Brown's head coach at Marshall. His 15 seasons played in the NFL breaks the Marshall record of 13 years he and Bartrum once shared when they passed NFL Hall of Fame member Frank "Gunner" Gatski and Minnesota Vikings 40th Anniversary team member Carl Lee. Gatski and Lee spent 12 years in the NFL, and Brown's three championships in professional football is third behind Gatski's eight as a member of the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions, and former Browns player (titles in 1946-47-48-49) and coach (titles in 1954-55-64) in Ed Ulinski's seven total, four as a player, for all former Herd players.

Former MU teammates Brown, Bartrum and Ratliff began a summer football camp back in 1999 at Spring Valley High School, in the Huntington area where Ratliff was the new head football coach, that has become the "Bartrum-Brown Football Camp," attracting hundreds of local children to a one-day camp that features NFL players like Marshall's Chad Pennington (Dolphins), Byron Leftwich (Pittsburgh Steelers), Chris Crocker (Dolphins) and many other former Marshall and other pros who played alongside of both Brown and Bartrum. Mike Vrable (Pats), Brian Westbrook (Philadelphia Eagles), Lee Vickers and Al DeGraffenreid have all been members of the coaching staff. The weekend includes a auction/dinner and golf outing, and funds raised are shared with Brown and Bartrum children's causes in their towns (Huntington and Pomeroy, Ohio) as well as with Marshall, with the camp being at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium since Mark Snyder became MU's head coach in 2005.

The Patriots announced that their game against the New York Jets on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008 will be Troy Brown Night at Gillette Stadium, with events honoring Brown and his significant accomplishments with the franchise.

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