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.
Last week, I wrote about the opening of Gillette Stadium, and the night the Patriots opened their shiny new stadium with the hanging of their first ever Super Bowl championship banner. So it's only fitting this week's Obscure Patriot of the Week comes from that 2002 team.
One of the most thankless jobs on a football field is that of an offensive lineman. Good offensive line play rarely goes noticed; but as soon as one block is missed, it's easy to jump down that player's throat. And so when Mike Compton signed with the Patriots before the 2001 season, it's no surprise that the signing didn't come with much fanfare.
Compton joined the Pats as a cagey 29-year-old veteran, having spent his previous nine seasons with Detroit and having the chance to block for Barry Sanders. Part of his appeal was his versatility -- he had no problem playing any position on the offensive line.
That versatility carried over during his time in New England. A left guard by trade, he had no problem filling in at center for shotgun formations (his previous experience as the Lions' long snapper came into play).
Compton didn't miss a start in his first two seasons with the Patriots, quietly going about his business as o-linemen typically do. He was a part of the Super Bowl-winning teams in 2001 and 2003, finally securing the ring that had eluded him in Detroit.
Unfortunately, Compton was limited to just two games in 2003, and quietly shuffled off to Jacksonville to close out his career in 2004. His career spanned 151 games over 12 seasons, 119 of which were starts -- no easy feat for someone doing the grunt work in the trenches.
Following the end of his career, Compton headed back to his home state of Virginia and coached high school and college football. He currently coaches the offensive line at the University of Virginia at Wise, where he has been since 2015.
Blocking for legendary figures like Barry Sanders and Tom Brady. That's a high-caliber item to put on a resume, and something that Mike Compton had the chance to accomplish in his NFL career. Have any Obscure Patriot of the Week recommendations? Let me know on Twitter @Riches61!