Former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe joined Dennis & Callahan Friday morning to talk about his time in New England, his induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame and what life his life is like after football.
"The thing that I'm most proud of is being part of those teams that really started to turn the franchise around," Bledsoe said. "I came here in '93, the franchise hadn't had a lot of success for a number of years prior to that, and when I left here in '01, things were really headed toward where they are now, which is probably the premier franchise in the National Football League."
After being drafted No. 1 overall by the Patriots in 1993, Bledose quickly became the face of the franchise. In 1994, he led New England to its first playoff appearance in eight years. Two years later, Bledsoe carried the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI, where they fell to the Packers. His last season with the Pats was 2001, when Bledsoe suffered an early season injury and was replaced by a quarterback by the name of Tom Brady, who would lead New England to a Super Bowl victory that year.
After stints with the Bills and Cowboys, Bledsoe retired in April 2007. He ended his career fifth in NFL history in both pass attempts (6,717) and completions (3,839), seventh in passing yards (44,611), and 13th in touchdown passes (251). He was elected to the Patriots Hall of Fame in May and will be formally inducted this Saturday at Patriot Place.
Even though it was Bledsoe and then-coach Bill Parcells who turned New England into a winning franchise, Bledsoe says he isn't bothered when people credit Brady and Bill Belichick for turning around the Patriots.
"I'm just glad that I was and teams that I was on, I'm glad that we were part of a resurgence of that," Bledsoe said. "All you really want when you depart some place, you want to feel like when you leave, it's better than it was when you got there. And I feel like we did that."
Following are more highlights from the conversation.
On his time with the Cowboys and Bills: "I really did enjoy my time that I spent in Buffalo. They're great football fans over there. There's not a whole heck of a lot going on outside of football in Buffalo, so they certainly show up for the games. So, that was a fun place to play. And then going to the Cowboys for a couple of years, first of all, it was nice to be warm for a change coming from the AFC East. We enjoyed that time, too. Obviously, my heart and soul is with the Patriots and always will be, but I enjoyed those other two stops as well."
On his chances of getting in the Pro Football Hall of Fame: "Obviously, that would mean a ton. It's a great honor, but it's not something I spend a lot of time thinking about. Handicapping my chances of getting in, I really honestly don't know. I think when you put my resume up there, it stacks up pretty nicely, but it's not a done deal, so I don't know. I'm certainly, right now, focused on this honor that's been bestowed on me by the fans of the New England Patriots."
On ending his career at age 34: "Honestly, it wasn't really necessarily that I couldn't play or couldn't play at a high level anymore. At that time, it would have been another move, leaving the Cowboys and going some place else. I wasn't willing to do that and all that that entails. For me, it was just time for the next phase in my life. I'd played football for a lot of years and loved every second that I did, but I knew that when the time came to move on, I was very ready to do that. It wasn't so much quitting football as it was moving on to the next phase of my life, and I've really enjoyed every little bit of it."
On his post-NFL life in Oregon: "I honestly keep myself very, very busy with the wine business and we're involved with a couple other businesses that demand a lot of my time. Thankfully, a lot of that time can be phone time except when we go out, I've done some marketing trips. I'm able to shape my business around my life, which is quite a luxury, but I do stay awfully busy."
We check in for our weekly update from Bill Belichick and get his take on the Pats win over the Texans on the road, the benching of Stevan Ridley, and Antonio Smith's thinly veiled Spygate comments after the Texans lost.
Patriots’ defensive end, Rob Ninkovich, joins Mut and Merloni on a Patriots Monday after the team’s victory in Houston. Rob addresses the postgame comments of Texans’ defensive lineman Antonio Smith and the defense struggling against the run.
Tom Brady joined the show fresh off the teams 9th win of the season in Houston. He dismissed Antonio Smith's spying allegations and told the guys he has already moved on.
Eagle checks in to give Grande and Max a perspective on the Brooklyn Nets after they acquired Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett via trade earlier this summer. He breaks down what he thinks the future holds for the Nets after completing this blockbuster deal.
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell take some time and look back at the history between the Celtics and the Lakers, specifically the legendary rivalry between Magic and Bird. Legendary broadcaster, Ian Eagle, checks in to give the Brooklyn perspective as KG and Paul Pierce settle into their new home. Sean and Max also reveal the behind the scenes details surrounding Max’s famous “I got the ball” moment.
In the first hour of this edition of the Celtics Summer Cooler, Grande and Max analyze the trade that sent Fab Melo out of Boston. Also in this hour, Max sets the story straight about his history with Larry Bird.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier talk with Jon Lester about contract negotiations, losing a teammate like Jacoby Ellsbury, the World Series run, and looking ahead to 2014.
Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are back witht he Hot Stove Show. They talk about Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the New York Yankees, the Red Sox signings of AJ Pierzynski and Edward Mujica, and wrap it up with Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester, who talks about the World Series run, losing a teammate like Ellsbury and looking towards 2014.
The Red Sox new catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, joined the show to discuss his reputation as the most hated man in baseball. He also said that he turned down multi-year deals to come and win in Boston.
Shawn Thornton joined the show and discussed the teams long layoff leading into their game tomorrow night in Montreal. He told the guys that he anticipates fighting being a part of hockey for years to come.
Lucic joins Danny Picard to talk some hockey after the team’s overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes. Danny asks Lucic about David Krejci’s game winner yesterday and hockey outsiders that are trying to change the game.
Shawn Thornton joined the show fresh off his big night at MSG and talked about his recent goal scoring prowess. Shawn said that no matter who his line mates are he is always going to be a fourth liner.
Kirk Minihane answered any and all questions from the listeners and John and Gerry.
The New York Post's Joel Sherman joined the show with his thoughts on jacoby Ellsbury's signing with the Yankees. He said that if it were up to him he would have given the money to Robinson Cano over Ellsbury.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane. They discussed how Ron Burgundy has officially jumped the shark and played sound of him on Dan Patrick.
Jackie Mac joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Rajon Rondo, the Celtics, and the Jacoby Ellsbury deal with the Yankees.
Johnny Damon joins Mut and Merloni to clear the air about his free agent signing with the Yankees and discusses Ellsbury's signing.
Mut and Merloni react to former Red Sox OF Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the Yankees.
We check in with ESPN's great play-by-play man Mike Tirico for a look around the NFL, and a preview of Pats/Browns.
We tackle four topics centered on the movers and shakers in MLB right now.
We start talking about Robbie Cano and the reported 10 year, 240 million dollar contract on the table from the Mariners, and a little debate about him vs Pedroia broke out.
Ryder talks with WEEI.com's Chris Price about the Patriots upcoming game with the Cleveland Browns, and Stevan Ridley's status on the team.
Alex joins the show and gives his thoughts on the Jacoby Ellsbury deal, and what prospects the Red Sox have to fill the hole left in the lineup, or trade pieces to get a player who can fill the void.
John talks to Rob and gets his thoughts on the Yankees signing Jacoby Ellsbury, the Red Sox signing AJ Pierzynski, and Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing with Miami.
Mike Lupica of the Daily News joined the show to give the New York reaction to the Ellsbury signing. He said that the Yankees drastically overpaid.More from this show
The Red Sox new catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, joined the show to discuss his reputation as the most hated man in baseball. He also said that he turned down multi-year deals to come and win in Boston.More from this show
Johnny Damon joins Mut and Merloni to clear the air about his free agent signing with the Yankees and discusses Ellsbury's signing.More from this show
Buster Olney joins Mut and Merloni to discuss Jacoby Ellsbury signing with the Yankees and the possibility of the Red Sox trading for Andre Ethier.More from this show