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Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Wed Apr 14 | 12:00 AM - 11:55 PM

Ben Coates Conference Call - 7/7/2008

Former Patriots tight end addresses the media during his conference call to discuss his enshrinement into the Patriots Hall of Fame on July 7, 2008.

Q: Congratulations. When did you get word today, and what was your reaction?

BC: Thank you very much. I got word at about 11:30 this morning. I talked to Mr. Kraft; he called me on my cell phone and told me that I was going into the Patriots Hall of Fame. I was thrilled. [There is] no better honor in the world than to go into the Hall of Fame with the Kraft family. I am thrilled to have the honor to be in the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Q: What do you think separates you and made you able to have so much more success than guys picked higher and who maybe had higher expectations than you did? What do you think separated you and made you able to have the success that you had?

BC: I think the desire, coming from a small school and being drafted later than some other guys that had higher expectations, you have the will to want it a lot more and you want to work a lot harder so you can get to where some of the elite guys are. And that was my thrill, to get to the top echelon of tight ends.

Q: Do you follow the Patriots team now?

BC: I still watch (Benjamin) Watson and the other tight ends. Over the years I have watched some of the guys that have come through after I was there. Yes, I still do. I think some of those guys have a lot of ability. I don't know about their desire to put in a lot of effort and work because I'm not around those guys. I watch them a lot and I try to catch a game here and there and maybe come to town and watch them.

Q: What are you doing now? Are you still in football?

BC: I am working in South Carolina in an alternative school with kids and I am also coaching at a high school here in Greeneville, South Carolina.

Q: Would you see yourself at some point wanting to get back into the NFL as a coach or scout or General Manager or something like that? Or are you happy coaching high school kids?

BC: For right now, I like what I am doing right now but ultimately I want to get back into the NFL. I would like to get back involved in helping guys out playing the position that I played and try to get somebody to be better than me. The ultimate goal is to make somebody be better than what you did. That's one of the accomplishments I want to try to accomplish before my time is up.

Q: What was the reaction of your friends and family when they found out?

BC: My friends and family; a lot of them don't even really know. The only person that really knows is one of my brothers that came to the majority of my games. I am quite sure he is going to spread the word and one of my best buddies, he knows now, and a lot of them (family) will look on the Internet because they have been seeing the voting and everything. I am sure a lot of them know now and I am sure I will be getting quite a few phone calls. It's quite a surprise.

Q: Did you go online and vote for yourself?

BC: No. I wouldn't do that. It is up to the fans. If it is meant for me to be there, I will let the fans do it.

Q: In some ways is this honor more meaningful because it did come from the fans, because they voted you in?

BC: Yes it does. It did means a lot to me that the fans voted me in. I know it was a tight competition last year with me and Stanley and everybody who was up for it, all the great guys that were up for it. Everybody gets their due. I guess it was just time for me. Last year wasn't the time for me and this year is the time for me.

Q: You played for Bill Parcells and everybody knows he likes to get his tight ends really involved into the offense. How much of that helped you amass some of the big numbers you put up here?

BC: I think it helped out a lot, but what really helped out more than anything was drafting (Drew) Bledsoe. When we drafted Bledsoe in '93, me and him clicked together and the chemistry and everything was there. The coaching staff went with it and rolled with it and it carried us quite a way.

Q: What is your favorite memory from your days playing in New England?

BC: I would say that my favorite memory was getting to the Super Bowl in '96. I wish we could have had the chance to win it, but we didn't. Coming from '91 to '96 and having the chance to help the franchise go from always at the bottom and then in a couple of years get to the top and got to the Super Bowl and everything. That was one of the biggest accomplishment we had and that I will always remember. Even though we lost it, it was just getting there and playing in the big game of all games in football.

Q: How great does it feel to be part of the Patriots Hall of Fame?

BC: It feels great to be [inducted] with those guys. I can only name a few of them, I am not sure I can name all of them but (Andre) Tippett, Bruce Armstrong the guys that I was active with and that I came kind of late in on their career. It is just great to be nominated with those guys. It is an honor that you can't pass up and I appreciate the Kraft family for nominating me with the fans and everyone else. I had a great time while I was in Boston. Boston is like my second home now.

Q: You were nominated last year and didn't get in. Stanley Morgan did. Were you disappointed last year when you didn't get in? Would you have been disappointed this year if you didn't get in?

BC: I wouldn't have been disappointed. I leave it all up to the fans. The way Mr. Kraft wants to do it now is have the fans vote and all the fans voted. Last year Stanley won, and there is no better guy to beat you out than this guy. I talk to Stanley quite a bit; he is my homeboy; he is from South Carolina. I didn't get it last year. He got it and I was happy for him. Actually we talked the week he got nominated and everything. It is an honor for him to get in and it was an honor for me to be going against somebody of that caliber of a player that played for the Patriots.

Q: Can you talk about the special connection you and Drew (Bledsoe) both had on the field?

BC: Drew (Bledsoe) felt for one that I was going to catch every play that he threw to me. Even if you were in the flat he would throw it 100 miles an hour and he knew I was going to catch it. He knew somebody that he could depend on when the game is on the line, a crunch situation, or a crucial situation where sometimes a guy may not want the ball where the ball is suppose to be going to them, he knew where I was going to be at all times. If something broke down or didn't go the way it was suppose to go he knew exactly where I was going to be, so it worked out for him and also for me.

Q: With Andre Tippett getting into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, do you think there is room for another Patriot to join him there?

BC: Like I said, this one right here came at the right time, with Mr. Kraft opening up the building (The Hall at Patriot Place) this year and it is just a matter of time. It is just a matter of time before I will actually get that call to go to Canton. I don't sit here and debate on it or worry about it everyday. Everything in due time comes for good people who wait for it.

Q: Are you still in touch with Drew?

BC: Yes. I keep in touch with a couple of guys. I talk to Drew maybe every couple of months or so. I try to keep in touch with him and his family and everybody. I talk to Bruce (Armstrong), (Andre) Tippett, I talk to Ray Agnew and a couple other guys.

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