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Ben Coates elected to Patriots Hall of Fame

Patriots fans have chosen tight end Ben Coates as the 2008 enshrinee for the team's Hall of Fame at the Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon.

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Patriots tight end Ben Coates who played for the team from 1991-99.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced today that tight end Ben Coates, who played for the team for nine seasons from 1991-99, was elected by Patriots fans as the 13th member of the Patriots Hall of Fame. He becomes the first tight end inducted into The Hall. The Patriots will honor Coates, along with all 12 previous Hall of Famers, in the first enshrinement ceremony at The Hall at Patriot Place Presented by Raytheon this fall.

Patriots fans chose Coates from a list of three finalists in an online election on Patriots.com. Fans registered votes from the time the polls opened on May 1 until voting closed on July 4. The three finalists - Coates, Jon Morris and Jim Nance - were determined by a nomination committee made up of media, Patriots Hall of Famers and Patriots staff.

"I feel great about it. It feels great to have the fans make the choice," said Coates. "The other nominees were great competitors and I am honored to be the inductee. I guess it was my time, and what better time to be inducted than the year the team is opening The Hall at Patriot Place."

"Ben Coates led the Patriots in receptions five times in six seasons and was the most dominant tight end in football for more than half a decade," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "We are looking forward to honoring Ben for all of his many accomplishments as a Patriot. He gave us all some wonderful memories during his career and our fans are eager to honor him as the franchise's 13th Hall of Famer. We hope to start a new tradition this year by honoring each of our Patriots Hall of Famers during an Enshrinement Weekend at The Hall at Patriot Place and we are excited that Ben's induction will highlight the weekend's festivities."

Coates ranks second on the Patriots' all-time career touchdowns list and leads all tight ends with 50. He ranks third in franchise history with 490 career receptions and fourth in receiving yards (5,471). Those numbers rank first among all Patriots tight ends. Coates was selected to the Pro Bowl five times in five consecutive seasons, following the 1994-98 seasons. When he retired, he held the Patriots single-season record for receptions, which he set in 1994 while making 96 catches. That total also broke the NFL record for tight ends, eclipsing Todd Christensen's mark of 95 set in 1986. The two-time Associated Press All-Pro First-Team selection was the Patriots' leading receiver from 1993-95 and again from 1997-98.

Coates was one of the most reliable pass-catching tight ends in NFL history. His 499 career receptions, a figure that includes his nine seasons with New England in addition to one season with the Baltimore Ravens (2000), rank him sixth all-time among NFL tight ends. He also ranks sixth among tight ends in touchdown receptions (50) and 10th in receiving yards (5,555). From 1994-98, Coates led all tight ends in receptions (375) and touchdown receptions (36) and was second in receiving yards (4,151).

The Greenwood, S.C. native was selected by the Patriots in the fifth round (124th overall) of the 1991 NFL Draft out of Livingstone College. Coates became a consistent performer and set a Patriots franchise record with receptions in 63 consecutive games from 1992-96. He earned his first Pro Bowl berth following a record-breaking season in 1994 when he tallied a then franchise high 96 receptions and led the Patriots in receiving yards (1,174, also a career-high) and touchdown receptions (7). Coates rattled off a streak of six seasons (1993-98) with 50-plus receptions and scoring at least five touchdowns - both of those streaks stand as franchise records.

In addition to his regular-season accomplishments, Coates played in seven playoff games for the Patriots - including Super Bowl XXXI - and caught 22 passes for 204 yards and one touchdown. He posted a game-high six receptions for 67 yards and one touchdown in Super Bowl XXXI.

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS HALL OF FAME
The Patriots Hall of Fame was established in 1991 as a way to honor the greatest players in franchise history. A selection committee of media and staff was formed to select players for induction and appropriately, John Hannah was the first player enshrined. Eight additional players were inducted from 1992-95. Andre Tippett (1999) and Bruce Armstrong (2001) rounded out the Patriots Hall of Fame's first 11 members. After six years without additional inductees, the Patriots initiated a new election system in 2007 when Stanley Morgan became the 12th member of the Patriots Hall of Fame. The process was inaugurated in advance of the scheduled opening of The Hall at Patriot Place Presented by Raytheon, which will provide a permanent location for the team's greats to be honored. One player will be enshrined in the Patriots Hall of Fame each year, with a nomination committee determining three finalists each spring and fans making the final choice through Patriots.com each summer.

ABOUT THE HALL AT PATRIOT PLACE PRESENTED BY RAYTHEON
A cutting edge, highly interactive experience, The Hall at Patriot Place Presented by Raytheon will showcase the history of the New England Patriots while providing a permanent home for the team's Hall of Fame. Opening in September, The Hall at Patriot Place Presented by Raytheon will feature 30,000 square feet of exhibit space and utilize the latest in design concepts and multimedia technology to bring the story of the Patriots to life. The Hall will also explore the history of football in New England and will feature an integrated educational program to benefit visiting school groups. The Hall at Patriot Place Presented by Raytheon will be a unique sports hall of fame and experience, and a must-visit attraction for any Patriots fan.

PATRIOTS HALL OF FAME
PlayerPos.YearsEnshrined
Bruce ArmstrongT1987-20002001
Nick BuonicontiLB1962-19681992
Gino CappellettiWR/K1960-19701992
Ben CoatesTE1991-19992008
Bob DeeDE1960-19671993
Steve GroganQB1975-19901995
John HannahG1973-19851991
Mike HaynesCB1976-19821994
Jim Lee HuntDT1960-19711993
Stanley MorganWR1977-19892007
Steve NelsonLB1974-19871993
Vito "Babe" ParilliQB1961-19671993
Andre TippettLB1982-19931999
*-Also in Pro Football Hall of Fame

BEN COATES' PATRIOTS CAREER STATISTICS
YearTeamGGSRecYdsAvgLgTD
1991Patriots16210959.5171
1992Patriots162201718.622t3
1993Patriots16105365912.454t8
1994Patriots161696117412.262t7
1995Patriots16158491510.9356
1996Patriots16156268211.084t9
1997Patriots16166673711.2358
1998Patriots14146766810.0336
1999Patriots16153237011.6272
Patriots Totals142105490547111.284t50

PATRIOTS CAREER TOUCHDOWN LEADERS
PlayerPos.YearsTDs
Stanley MorganWR1977-198968
Ben CoatesTE1991-199950
Sam CunninghamRB1973-198249
Jim NanceRB1965-197146
Gino CappellettiWR/K1960-197043

PATRIOTS CAREER RECEPTION LEADERS
PlayerPos.YearsRECs
Troy BrownWR1993-2007557
Stanley MorganWR1977-1989534
Ben CoatesTE1991-1999490
Irving FryarWR1984-1992363
Terry GlennWR1996-2001329

PATRIOTS CAREER RECEIVING YARD LEADERS
PlayerPos.YearsYards
Stanley MorganWR1977-198910,352
Troy BrownWR1993-20076,366
Irving FryarWR1984-19925,726
Ben CoatesTE1991-19995,471
Jim CocloughWR1960-19685,001

Check out Ben Coates conference call with the media on Monday as he discusses his enshrinement into the Patriots Hall of Fame.

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