A gracious Troy Brown addressed reporters on a conference call on Tuesday morning, less than 24 hours after being officially named the 2012 Patriots Hall of Fame inductee, edging out fellow finalists Bill Parcells and Fred Marion.
Brown, who received the most fan votes for a candidate in the brief history of Patriots Hall of Fame voting, started the call off by offering thanks to the fans and all those who supported his nomination before fielding a handful of questions.
Here are some highlights from the conversation.
Q. Do you get nostalgic at all when reflecting on your Patriots career, which began nearly 20 years ago?
A. “Yeah, somewhat. I always look back on it and where I started from and how shaky things were, and how unsure things were for a long time wearing that Patriots uniform. I think it was like seven years in there where it was always pretty unstable for me. And I look back on that now and I realize now how much the fans really did appreciate what I was doing, when at times it didn’t seem like some other people around the organization seemed to realize that. When it comes down to it, I always played hard for my teammates and I played hard for my coaches no matter who it was, ownership. And you really wanted to go out there and make our fans happy. I think that I realized how much they appreciated how I played the game, it does make me feel really good.”
Q. How would you rate yourself in terms of your natural ability?
A. “As far as natural ability, I was always athletic. I didn’t have some of the skills that you see a lot of the athletes have. I could jump, I was quick, I could catch and all those types of things, but when it came to just flat out speed, that’s something I had to work really hard at. I got better, I got faster and I think it showed. When I hit 28, 29 years old, 30 years old, that was probably one of my best times ever in the 40 yard dash. It happened to work out in my favor there. Maybe I don’t have all the things that you think a guy my size would have ... but when you have the heart and the determination to go out there and get something done and you go out and play the game like you love it, you can make up for a lot of the things you don’t have.”
Q. Did you think ever think about possibly being voted into the Patriots Hall of Fame?
A. “Yeah, those are things that kind of cross your mind from time to time. I’m not one who’s big on accolades and all those things. I did my job and I’m proud of what I did and how I did it.”
Q. What was the most special moment of your career?
A. “I was a part of quite a few unique games in Patriots history. I could talk about the ‘Snow Bowl’ against Oakland, the ‘Tuck Rule,’ all those games. The overtime against the Dolphins and obviously those Super Bowl wins that we had. Those are great games, big games for us, and even back into like 1996, winning that last game against the Giants to get home field advantage. Just so many special moments, kind of hard to put my finger on just one. Maybe the 2006 game against the San Diego Chargers (in the AFC Divisional playoff round), being able to get the ball back from Marlon McCree there.”
(Fans will likely remember that Brown stripped McCree after he had intercepted a Tom Brady pass late in the game, and the Patriots ultimately won, 24-21).
Q. On Bill Parcells, and whether he is deserving of being inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame as well.
A. “I think he’s very deserving, because you look at where this franchise was before Bill Parcells took it over. He’s the one that really kind of changed the culture, he changed the attitude of the New England Patriots and probably the fans too. It gave them a lot of expectations when he took the job here. ... He really changed the way people look at the game here in our area.”
Brown also shared the humorous anecdote of how he heard the news that he had been selected into the team’s Hall of Fame. Originally, Patriots owner Robert Kraft reached out to the former wide receiver and left a praise-filled voicemail on his phone. Problem was, Brown’s phone had been chewed up earlier in the day by his dog. Fortunately, Patriots VP of media relations Stacey James was able to reach Brown directly and share the news.