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Sat., Mar. 28, 2015 12:00 AM to 11:59 PM EDT
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Fred Marion Conference Call Transcript
Q: When you think back to your playing career with the Patriots, what comes to mind?
FM: One of the things that comes to mind is what an exciting time it was up there. I just think back to how we started and when I first came in. When I first came in, it was a very short season. I think we only played nine games in that first strike year. Coming into the NFL, it was a dream come true. Having the opportunity to do something that you'd always hoped to be able to do and that's be in the National Football League and being part of the organization. We had some tough times there, but we also had a lot of great times there, a lot of great memories with a lot of my former teammates.
Q: What are your thoughts on how far along the organization has come since you played for the team during the Dick MacPherson era?
FM: My last year I played up there was 1991 and I'm a die-hard Patriots fan through and through. I follow them. I watch them. I watch the drafts. I watch them every Sunday that they're playing someone; that's why I got the NFL Sunday Ticket. I'm very excited about the way Mr. Kraft has taken that organization to the next level. I just think that I wish that I'd had the opportunity to play for Mr. Kraft under his ownership as well as Bill Belichick, who has done a tremendous job with the Patriots. I think so much of the organization and I still wear my colors proud even at work on Saturdays when we have jersey day.
Q: Do you feel as though you were born 10 or 15 years too soon?
FM: [Laughs] Well you know, you always say that, but I think everything has its purpose and everything has its time. I was fortunate to be able to play when I played and I'm sure like a lot of other guys who pioneered the game, you always wish you were born at a later time. Unfortunately, our time was our time. I think that God's in control of everything. I'm a true believer in that. I was fortunate to play in the era I played in.
Q: What are you doing now?
FM: I'm actually the general sales manager at David Maus Toyota in Sanford, Fla. After 21 years of owning restaurant franchises, I got out of that in the end of 2006 and I've been with David Maus Toyota ever since.
Q: Are there any specific games that stand out to you when you look back on your career?
FM: Well yeah, I would like to say the Seattle game [11/17/85] we played that year and the way that game ended and the Cleveland Browns game [10/06/85] where we had our turnaround the year that we went to the Super Bowl. It was the turnaround of our season after losing a close-fought game, a hard-fought game, playing in Cleveland and losing that game, all the ruckus and everything that transpired in the locker room because we knew we were better than our record indicated. So after that, we won seven or eight consecutive games after that point and end up getting into the playoffs and being a Wild Card [team] and end up being in the Super Bowl. I would say that run, that stretch we had right there was most memorable.
Q: Can you refresh my memory on that Seattle game? I think that was the game where you had a big interception return.
FM: Yes it was. I think Dave Kreig tried to force a pass in and I think [Larry] McGrew just so slightly tipped the ball and I was able to be in the right place at the right time and I brought it back probably about 70 or 80 yards. [Steve] Grogan came in on the next play and threw a slant pass to either Irving [Fryar] or Stanley Morgan and we ended up scoring a touchdown.
Q: When was the last time you were in Foxborough to see the stadium and take in a game?
FM: The last time I was back was the Buffalo Bills Monday night game [09/14/09] that we ended up coming back and winning at the very end of the game. Mr. Kraft had us up for that particular game, when they honored the all-century team. I was back up there on that Monday night when opened up against the Buffalo Bills.
Q: How were you informed of your inclusion in this Hall of Fame nomination class?
FM: [Patriots Vice President of Media Relations] Stacey James actually called last week and notified me that I was nominated. For a moment there I just paused. I was at a loss for words. You play the game just to play the game. You play to the best of your ability and I'm going to let things fall where they may. I was very honored, a little floored knowing that I was thought of in that fashion the way I played the game for 10 years for the Patriots.
Q: How would you like people to remember the way you played the game or your style of play?
FM: I'd like them to remember that I was always prepared and I left nothing on the field. I came to play and I think that I was always around the ball. I was a student of the game. I always did a lot of film study and I wasn't afraid to make contact. I would come up and hit the best of them, and wasn't afraid to be an aggressive player. I played in the secondary. I think I played a great centerfield as a free safety, always trying to fool the opposing quarterback, let him think they had something when there was nothing there. I was able to go get the ball. I'd like to be remembered as I played the game the way we played the game back then and that's hard and physical on each and every down.
Q: Who are some of the teammates you still keep in touch with today?
FM: I spoke to [Andre] Tippett recently. We texted each other and I just wanted to thank him for the kind words he had for me on the video highlight. Johnny Rembert, I still keep in touch with Johnny Rembert, in fact, I'll probably be seeing him in about a week or two. Bruce Armstrong, I stay in touch with him, and just other guys from time to time in passing. I get the opportunity to really see the guys and we talk on the phone. Ronnie Lippett, I still talk to Ronnie over the telephone and I've seen other guys over the years that I played with. I don't see them on a regular basis, but it's always exciting to see the guys because I think that after the game is all said and done, whether it's by injury or by age, it's the camaraderie and the friendships and relationships you built over time. I think that's the most important thing you will treasure for the rest of your life.
Q: Where in Florida do you live and have you been there since you retired?
FM: Orlando is where I reside. I've been living in Orlando ever since I retired.
Q: What do you miss most about the New England region?
FM: I think it's the changing of the seasons more than anything, and the nice, friendly people. I must remark that I get a lot of New England fans here. A lot of the guys come in and I sign autographs for them and I keep pictures around. We have a lot of loyal fans around the country and I think what I miss most is the seasons. I never was a cold weather person. I used to freeze my butt off because I'm from Florida and I grew up in Florida. I can't say I miss the bitter cold, but I just miss the changing of the seasons and just the friendly and warm people I met up there from the time I played for the New England Patriots.