Over the past 20 years, the New England Patriots have been perhaps the greatest dynasty in NFL history. Throughout that time, quarterback Tom Brady remained under center, but around him, many different players were brought in and sent out, leading to some tenures that are remembered by few.
Here are five players whom you may have forgotten played for the Patriots.
5. Fred Taylor, 2009-2010
One of the greatest players in Jacksonville Jaguars history, Taylor spent 11 years in Florida, rushing for 11,271 yards and 62 touchdowns. He ran for over 1,000 yards seven times and made one Pro Bowl. Taylor was one of the best RBs of the decade, but because there were so many great backs during his career, Taylor is often forgotten, so it’s no surprise that many have forgotten he ended his career in New England.
Taylor signed a two-year deal with the Pats in 2009, hoping to win a Super Bowl. Unfortunately, Taylor was unable to stay healthy, playing only 13 total regular season games and carrying the ball just 106 times. Taylor received two carries in New England’s 33-14 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 AFC Wild Card game. His time with the Patriots was forgettable, but that shouldn’t overshadow his excellent career with the Jaguars.
4. Joey Galloway, 2009
Selected eighth overall in 1995, Galloway had a productive NFL career, but never quite lived up this natural talent. He reportedly ran a 4.18-second 40-yard dash, which is impossible to verify and seems hard to believe, but Galloway was one of the league’s fastest players for the entirety of his career. He caught 701 passes for 10,950 yards and 77 touchdowns; solid numbers, and he could have been even better.
Injuries seemingly hampered Galloway’s effectiveness just as he was settling in with his teams. First an ACL tear in 2000, then a foot injury in 2008. He signed a one-year deal with New England prior to the 2009 season, but after being a healthy scratch in multiple games, Galloway was released in October. He finished his Patriots career having played in three games, catching seven of 20 targets for 67 yards.
Galloway signed with the Washington Redskins the next season, but his time in D.C. didn’t go much better and was cut after 10 games, which signaled the end of his career.
3. Doug Flutie, 1987-1989, 2005
Flutie had a very nice career at Boston College, but at 5-9 and 175 pounds, he was considered too small to play in the NFL. He was drafted by the New Jersey Generals of the United States Football League and spent a year playing for them before the USFL shut its doors in 1986.
He then made his way to the NFL, and the Los Angeles Rams, who had drafted Flutie in the 11th round in 1985, traded him to the Chicago Bears, where he spent a season-and-a-half before being dealt the Patriots. Flutie started 10 games over the next two seasons, going 7-3 and throwing for 10 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Flutie then left the team to play in the Canadian Football League, where he spent eight years.
In 1998, Flutie returned to the NFL with the Buffalo Bills and played well for both them and the San Diego Chargers. He returned to New England in 2005 to back up Tom Brady for a season before returning at the age of 43.
2. Kellen Winslow Jr., 2012
In terms of pure natural talent, Kellen Winslow is up there with any other tight end in NFL history. He showed that elite talent in spurts, but never consistently put it all together. After a tumultuous five years with the Cleveland Browns, Winslow was traded to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and signed the largest TE contract in history (at the time), worth $36 million over six years. He lasted three seasons in Tampa Bay before being dealt to the Seattle Seahawks, but didn’t play a game for them.
The Patriots signed Winslow in September of 2012, and he spent all of nine days with the team. He caught one pass for 12 yards in his lone game. He spent a year with the New York Jets before retiring in 2014. Post-NFL life has not been kind to Winslow, as he’s been in all kinds of legal trouble, having done some pretty disgusting things.
1. Chad Johnson, 2011
One of the biggest personalities in league history, Johnson (formerly Ochocinco, and Johnson prior to that) spent 10 of his 11 seasons in the NFL with the Cincinnati Bengals. He was traded to the Patriots prior to the 2011 campaign, and while New England did make it back to the Super Bowl (where they lost to the New York Giants, again), Johnson wasn’t much of a factor, catching 15 passes in 15 games.