It's Not All About The Money

The New England Patriots have achieved a virtual Nirvana in the sports world. They win, they reload, they win again all without traveling to salary cap purgatory. Players are willing to join the team just to be part of something special. Players are even willing to forgo significant amounts of money to do it.Troy Brown wanted to stay with the team, not because of that success, but because his own family told him to.

PHOTO: New England Patriots wide receiver Troy Brown (80) celebrates as Philadelphia Eagles tight end L.J. Smith (82) reacts to the Patriots 24-21 win at the Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Feb. 6. 2005. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

The Power of Family
By Staff

Patriots fans can breathe a sigh of relief. Their favorite son, Troy Brown, is back after re-signing with the team for one year and $765,000 with a $25,000 signing bonus, and he wore his familiar white No. 80 practice jersey as he addressed the media last week.

Brown became a free agent in February when the Patriots declined to pick up an option that would have paid the 33-year-old receiver $5 million for 2005. But he didn't receive much interest on the open market until New Orleans jumped in recently with a better offer and a guaranteed slot as the third receiver, a place on the depth chart that is hardly solidified in New England where David Givens, Deion Branch, David Terrell, Brown and Tim Dwight figure to battle for the top three spots.

But after 12 years with the Patriots, Brown felt some loyalty to New England, as did his six-year-old son Sirmon.

"I had to pick and choose the situation that was right for my family and me first and foremost," Brown explained. "To be honest with you, part of the deciding factor in the whole thing was my oldest son. He heard me talking to my wife about it and said, 'No Daddy, I want you to play for the Patriots.' It's touching. I'm an emotional guy and that stuff gets to me."

If only Saints head coach Jim Haslett knew he should have been asking for Sirmon when he called the Brown household, the Patriots third leading receiver of all time might be preparing to play his games in Louisiana instead of Foxborough, Mass.

"It was a situation where I had to think about where I was in my career and what I was looking for," Brown said. "Jim Haslett called me several times. Their offensive coordinator (Mike McCarthy) called me a couple of times. In the end my family was happier here. That was a big decision. I talked to Tom Brady a couple times and he wanted me back here. This is basically like home for me, and it's kind of hard to leave at this point in my career."

So despite the chance to have a higher salary and more playing time, Brown decided to stay in New England where his name also carries some endorsement value. He has a deal in place with Banknorth, which recently purchased the naming rights for what used to be the Fleet Center, the home of the Celtics and Bruins.

"Those are the kinds of things that make you want to stay," he said. "Going to New Orleans, it was a great playing situation for me, it was a better financial opportunity for me, but you don't want to lose those kind of relationships. They've been good to me and the partnership has worked out well. I think I made the right decision."

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