Patriots Report: What about Troy?

<P>The Draft is a week away and many pundits have the New England Patriots looking at linebackers, defensive backs and receivers. This led us to wonder, what's happening with Troy Brown? He's still out there unsigned. What has he been up to? Will the Patriots draft someone to replace him?</P><P>Patriots Insider has been following Troy's quiet off-season, and found him spending time in a familiar place.</P>

Photo: New England Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown, played in the defensive back field in Super Bowl XXXIX. Seen here stretching at practice in Jacksonville, Fla., Friday afternoon Feb. 4, 2005. The Patriots went on to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 24-21 to win their third Super Bowl in four years. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Patriots Report: What about Troy?
What will the Patriots do to replace him
By Patriots Insider Staff

Troy Brown, an unrestricted free agent, has been exploring his options and taking a quiet approach to the off-season. When the Patriots released the popular player, it was expected they would resign the versatile Brown to a more cap friendly deal. Instead they have signed free agents WR/KR Tim Dwight, WR David Terrell and CB Duane Starks in effect to replace Brown. Three players to replace one.

Brown hasn't commented to the media about his return to football, or his plans should he decide to go in another direction. Yet that hasn't stopped him from continuing his charitable pursuits ( Reading to kids ) or hanging out in some familiar places.

Brown recently spent time with Marshall's Thundering Herd head coach Mark Snyder as he prepared for the Green-White game.

Snyder spoke with the Huntington Herald Dispatch about Brown and the program at Marshall (Brown's almamater).

"The thing I like about Troy is you talk to (Patriots teammates) Teddy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel and those guys, he's a locker room leader. And he's a quiet leader," Snyder said.

Snyder, the Herd's new head coach, is trying to instill a winning tradition to a university that has produced such notables as QB, Chad Pennington (NY Jets), WR, Randy Moss (Raiders), and Brown among others.

Snyder believes in the team philosophy the Patriots have used as a model. Like most coaches who want to stress team over individual goals, he's preaching the virtues selflessness and team first attitudes to his players.

"... right now, the model of football is the New England Patriots and (coach) Bill Belichick. And the reason it's happening is because of the players he brings in and the kind of people they are, off the field and on the field."

What does Brown have to do with this?

Snyder was only too happy to have a guy Like Brown talk to his players and share his experience. Coming from a player who has three Superbowl rings as part of his credentials to accompany his excellent character certainly helps to send a message.

"He shared that with the team this morning. We couldn't have had a better guy speak to them."

Brown, once just an 8th round pick by the Patriots in 1993, continues to be on many New Englander's minds. Having filled in as a defensive back during the 2004 season, as well as continuing his duties on offense and special teams, Brown solidified his place in Patriots history as one of the most versatile players on the team. He is a true leader epitomizing the mantra of selflessness.

Brown's versatility and team first mentality during the 2004 season allowed the Patriots to deal with the injuries that decimated the depth chart. The Patriots lost both starting cornerbacks, one safety, and were forced to deal with other defensive players missing time due to injuries, yet Brown had no problem filling the void. In fact he enjoyed playing in all phases of the game. It gave him a sense of being from the days where players commonly played on both sides of the ball.

"I bring a little old-school flavor to the game," Brown said.

Whether the Patriots draft another player to fill Brown's shoes or not will be determined a week from now. So far they have signed three to replace him on the field, but have they found someone to replace his leadership and character?

In a recent conversation with the AP, former Patriot great and current Patriots Radio announcer Gino Cappelletti spoke of what Brown meant to the team.

"He's a complete football player," Cappelletti said. "He has great instincts on the field, the kind that coaches can't really teach you. Either you have it or you don't."

It's hard to believe they'll find the type of unselfish leader in the draft. They might find a comparable receiver, but the question is, will they find another guy like Troy?

If you ask Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, the team will have to aim pretty high to find someone like Troy.

"As a team player, Troy is right at the top of the list," Brady said. "There is no other guy who has the respect of his teammates like Troy."

PI's Take: The team has been looking at receivers in this years draft, but not as much as other positions. With the uncertain future of Tedy Bruschi, the departure of Roman Phifer and the notion of never having enough playmakers on defense, its looking like the Patriots will go with defensive players before offensive players. Reported earlier, the team has been looking at receivers and will likely pick up one in the draft, in spite of having signed two in free agency (Dwight and Terrell) and having one return from the injured reserve list (P.K. Sam).

The time for Brown to return to the team has probably passed. While it's not completely impossible at this point for Brown to return, should the team draft another receiver, it's going to be a lot more difficult to find playing time with so many new faces on the roster all vying for a playing time.

NOTE: You can find out more about Troy on his official website: TroyBrown80.com


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