When you think of the Patriots, you might think of iconic names like Bruce Armstrong, Ty Law and Tom Brady. Maybe, if you're feeling adventurous, Laurence Maroney also comes to mind. But in the 57-year history of the franchise, many have suited up, and many have been forgotten. This space is dedicated to the unsung Pats heroes of yesteryear.
Nowadays, the Patriots are known as the class of the NFL. They're defending their fifth Super Bowl title, and are easily in the conversation to claim a sixth this year.
One thing has been consistent in the Belichick/Brady Era, and it's that the Pats are always a bona-fide contender. They can carve up the rest of the league with ease and ruthless efficiency. But it always wasn't this way.
For the first 25 years of Patriot history, the team didn't amount to much. The most wins they'd produce in a season was 11, and had made the playoffs just four times in franchise history -- winning just one game (in 1963!). In 1985, though, they found themselves playing for their first-ever Super Bowl, though they'd go on to fall to a stacked Chicago defense in Super Bowl XX.
This week's Obscure Patriot of the Week goes to Derwin Williams, a wide receiver on that magical Patriots team.
Williams was selected by the Patriots out of New Mexico in 1984, but missed that whole season on IR and didn't get up and running until 1985. Falling in behind names like Stanley Morgan and Irving Fryar, Williams made one start in his rookie year (the only start of his career) and appeared in all 16 games, catching nine passes for 163 yards.
Those nine passes turned out to be a career-high, as he spent two more seasons in the league, catching five more passes along the way in 26 more games. His main contributions came on special teams, and according to the Patriots' website, his 15 tackles were fourth-most on the special-teams units.
Williams left the NFL in 1987, but didn't leave football entirely after that, serving as an official with Conference USA -- a position he still holds today, according to Google. Occasionally, he'll officiate with ECAC Boston, or find a high school game to ref as well.
Williams' athletic lineage still endures today, as his son, Mason, is a prospect in the New York Yankees organization, having been selected in the fourth round of the 2010 draft. He spent five games with the Yankees this year, before being sent back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in July.
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