23 former Patriots nominated for 2021 Pro Football Hall of Fame class
The Pro Football Hall of Fame HAS kicked off the process of finding its 2021 class: 130 modern-era nominees were announced on Monday. That list that will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in November, to 15 finalists in January, and finally to a group of four to eight enshrinees — the number is not set — ahead of next February’s Super Bowl.
Among those who cleared the first hurdle of actually getting on the list are 23 men who at one point signed a deal with the New England Patriots. That’s 17.7 percent of finalists, if you are interested in the math. While “only” 19 of them actually appeared in at least one game for the club, the number is still impressive and a nice stroll down memory lane.
With that said, let’s meet the former Patriots on the list of nominees:
QB Drew Bledsoe, FB Larry Centers, RB Corey Dillon, RB Steven Jackson, RB Fred Taylor, WR Henry Ellard, WR Torry Holt*, WR Chad Johnson, WR Reggie Wayne*, WR Wes Welker, TE Ben Coates, G Logan Mankins, G Brian Waters
*offseason member only
While some of the nominees like Henry Ellard or Chad Johnson played comparatively little roles during their short stints with the Patriots, the list does include some of the legendary names in franchise history — from Drew Bledsoe, to Wes Welker, to Ben Coates, to Logan Mankins. While Bledsoe and Coates have been in this position before, Welker and Mankins as well as Steven Jackson are first-time nominees to make the Hall of Fame.
Out of the group, Mankins may actually have the best odds. He was just recently voted to the NFL’s Team of the 2010s and has numerous individual accolades to build his case on despite never winning a Super Bowl. Corey Dillon and Fred Taylor also seem to have solid cases simply based on the fact that they are members of the NFL’s 10,000-yard rushing club.
*offseason member only
The list of defensive nominees includes some of the most successful players in franchise history — those that have helped building the team’s dynasty: Richard Seymour, Tedy Bruschi, Willie McGinest and Rodney Harrison have all helped bring multiple Super Bowls to New England in the early 2000s and are also members of the Patriots Hall of Fame. Seymour in particular has a strong case to make Pro Football’s as well, considering that he is a two-time finalist.
There also is a first-timer on this list: Jerod Mayo, who played eight seasons for the team and is currently serving as its inside linebackers coach. Mayo’s chances are rather slim compared to the other ex-Patriot defenders listed above, but making it this far in the process is a nice recognition nevertheless.
Special teams nominees
P Jeff Feagles, K Nick Lowery
Neither Jeff Feagles nor Nick Lowery fall into the same category as other players on this list when it comes to status in Patriots history, but they still played a role on the team at one point: Feagles played the first 32 of his 363 career games in New England, with Lowery playing the first two of his 268 with the club. Neither man would go into the Hall as Patriots, but they did get their career starts with the team.
Will a former Patriots make the Hall of Fame in 2021?
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