FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Three former Patriots have been selected as finalists for this year's induction into the New England Patriots Hall of Fame presented by Raytheon. This year's finalists (listed in alphabetical order) are safety Rodney Harrison, defensive lineman Richard Seymour and linebacker Mike Vrabel. All three players were teammates who helped the Patriots earn multiple Super Bowl championships in the early 2000s
Vrabel has been a finalist each of the last four years, while Seymour has been a finalist in each of his three years of his Patriots Hall of Fame eligibility. Harrison is a first-time finalist. It is also the second straight year that three teammates have been selected as finalists. Last year, offensive tackle Matt Light joined Seymour and Vrabel as finalists, with Light winning the 2018 fan vote.
Starting today, Patriots fans are encouraged to vote for the former Patriot most deserving of hall of fame honors. Fans can vote at Patriots.com/hof through May 3, and the team will announce the 2019 Patriots Hall of Fame selection the following week.
This year's inductee will join Leon Gray, who was selected for induction by the 10-person senior selection committee in April, to become the 29th person to be enshrined into the Patriots Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony is typically held on the NRG Plaza outside the Patriots Hall of Fame presented by Raytheon. The outdoor ceremony is free and open to the public. Patriots fans of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. The date and time of this year's ceremony will be announced at a later date.
Beginning in 2007, the Patriots started a new tradition, inducting one player or head coach into the team's hall of fame each year. The process for induction involves a panel of media, alumni and staff who collectively nominate the players or head coaches most deserving of induction. After the nominations are made, the committee votes and the top three tallies become that year's finalists. The Patriots then give fans the opportunity to vote online to select each year's Hall of Fame inductee. The Patriots are the only team in the NFL that allows its fans to make the final selection for enshrinement into the franchise's highest circle of honor.
The New England Patriots held their annual nomination committee meeting on Thursday, April 4, to vote for this year's candidates for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Now it is up to the fans to select the 2019 honoree.
More information on each of this year's finalists is listed in alphabetical order below:
Rodney Harrison played the final six seasons of his 15-year NFL career with the Patriots after spending his first nine seasons with the San Diego Chargers. He played a key role in helping the Patriots to back-to-back Super Bowl titles in his first two seasons with New England in 2003 and 2004. Harrison came up big on the biggest stage, with seven interceptions in nine postseason games with the Patriots, including two in Super Bowl XXXIX. His seven postseason interceptions are tied for the third-most in NFL postseason history, and his four picks in the 2004 playoffs are tied for the third-most in a single postseason.
Harrison had a knack for coming up with interceptions at crucial times. In the 2004 regular season and playoffs, five of his six interceptions came inside the opponent's 20-yard line with four of those picks coming inside the 4-yard line and two of them coming in the end zone. His only 2004 interception that did not come inside the 20-yard line was a fourth-quarter interception in Super Bowl XXXIX that ended Philadelphia's last drive to clinch the championship.
In his first two seasons in New England, Harrison was not only the Patriots leading tackler each year, but he also led all NFL defensive backs in tackles both seasons. He set a career-high with 140 tackles in 2003, followed by a 138-tackle performance in 2004. Additionally, he was the leading tackler in the 2003 and 2004 postseasons, while also recording two sacks, six interceptions, seven passes defensed and two forced fumbles in the six games leading to New England's back-to-back Super Bowl championships. He is the all-time leader in sacks by a defensive back with 30½, including nine during his time with the Patriots. He is the only defensive back in NFL history with 30 sacks and 30 interceptions, with eight of those picks coming during his Patriots career. Harrison was voted a team captain in each of his six seasons with the Patriots.
Richard Seymour spent the first eight seasons of his 12-year NFL career with the Patriots and played an important role in delivering six division titles, four conference crowns and three Super Bowl championships to New England. He was named to five straight Pro Bowls with the Patriots (2002-06) and earned three straight first team All-Pro honors (2003-05). His five Pro Bowl berths are the most by any Patriots defensive lineman since the 1970 NFL merger. He was also a four-time team co-captain. In 2009, he was voted to the Patriots 50th Anniversary Team and the 2000s All-Decade Team. Earlier this year, Seymour was one of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2019.
Seymour was drafted by the Patriots sixth overall in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft out of Georgia. He immediately established himself as one of the team's premier players and helped the Patriots win their first Super Bowl during his rookie season. During his time with the Patriots, he anchored a defense that allowed an average of 17.8 points per game and allowed fewer than 20 points per game in six of his eight seasons with New England. Seymour also blocked seven field goals in his career.
Overall, Seymour started in 105-of-111 games, totaling 460 tackles, including 256 solos stops with 39 sacks. He also recorded two interceptions and six fumble recoveries. He played in 15 postseason games with 13 starts and added 66 total tackles, 4½ sacks and two fumble recoveries. In 2004, he scored his first career touchdown on a fumble recovery that he returned 68 yards in a 31-17 win at Buffalo (10/3/04). Seymour was traded to Oakland in the summer of 2009, where he played the final four years of his career, producing two additional Pro Bowl seasons.
Mike Vrabel is recognized as one of the best free agent signings in team history. He joined the team prior to the 2001 season, following a four-year career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he was used primarily on special teams and as a reserve linebacker. During his eight-year tenure in New England, Vrabel played a major role in the Patriots dynamic run that included three Super Bowls in four years (2001, 2003 and 2004). He exemplified positional versatility during his Patriots tenure by starting at both inside and outside linebacker, regularly lining up on offense in short-yardage and goal-line situations, and continually making valuable contributions on various special teams units.
As a Patriot, he caught eight regular-season passes and two more in the playoffs. All 10 of his receptions were for touchdowns, including touchdown receptions in back-to-back Super Bowl wins over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXVIII and Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Vrabel's career as a Patriot included many highlight-reel games that also set him apart in NFL record books. On Dec. 26, 2005, on Monday Night Football, Vrabel became the first player since 1982 (when sacks became an official statistic) to have two touchdown receptions and a sack in the same game. In Week 8 of the 2007 season, Vrabel forced three fumbles, had three sacks, recovered an onside kick and scored an offensive touchdown against Washington, all of which earned him AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors. He earned Pro Bowl and NFL All-Pro honors following the 2007 season after registering 12½ sacks and helping the Patriots to the NFL's only 16-0 regular season in NFL history.
As a Patriot, Vrabel started 110-of-125 games and the team went 95-30 in those games for a .760 winning percentage. He was a four-time team captain, including during the 2006 season when the defense set a franchise record by allowing just 14.8 points per game and just 237 points – the fewest by the Patriots in a 16-game season. His 48 career sacks with the team are the seventh-most in franchise history. In 2009, he was voted to the Patriots 50th Anniversary Team as an outside linebacker along with Andre Tippett and the 2000s All-Decade Team along with Willie McGinest.
About the Patriots Hall of Fame
The Patriots Hall of Fame was officially formed in 1991 after John Hannah became the first Patriots player to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. With the construction of the Patriots Hall of Fame presented by Raytheon, which opened in 2008, the Patriots created a new way of honoring their greatest players and preserving their legacies for generations to come. Enshrinement into the Patriots Hall of Fame is the franchise's highest honor befitting of the franchise's greatest players and features 30-foot tall video pylons that display each hall of famer. Beginning in 2007, fans became part of the hall of fame tradition as active participants in the selection process.
- Houston Antwine (2015)
- Bruce Armstrong (2001)
- Raymond Clayborn (2017)
- Drew Bledsoe (2011)
- Troy Brown (2012)
- Tedy Bruschi (2013)
- Nick Buoniconti (1992)
- Gino Cappelletti (1992)
- Ben Coates (2008)
- Sam Cunningham (2010)
- Bob Dee (1993)
- Kevin Faulk (2016)
- Leon Gray (2019)
- Steve Grogan (1995)
- John Hannah (1991)
- Mike Haynes (1994)
- Jim Lee Hunt (1993)
- Ty Law (2014)
- Matt Light (2018)
- Willie McGinest (2015)
- Stanley Morgan (2007
- Jon Morris (2011)
- Jim Nance (2009)
- Steve Nelson (1993)
- Vito "Babe" Parilli (1993)
- Andre Tippett (1999)
- William H. "Billy" Sullivan, Jr. (2009)
- Gil Santos (2013)
About The Patriots Hall of Fame presented by Raytheon
The Patriots Hall of Fame presented by Raytheon is the crown jewel of Patriot Place and one of the only sports and education experiences of its kind. Through a dazzling array of interactive multimedia exhibits, artifacts never before viewable by the public and home of the Patriots' six Lombardi Trophies, the Patriots Hall of Fame presented by Raytheon showcases the tradition of the New England Patriots, explores the history of football in New England and promotes math and science education for the thousands of schoolchildren who visit each year. For more information, please visit www.patriotshalloffame.com.