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Patriots Romeo Crennel to be honored as NFL Asst. Coach of the Year at 26th Annual Ed Block Gala

BALTIMORE, Md. – The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation today announced that New England Patriots' Defensive Coordinator Romeo Crennel will be honored at the 26th Annual Ed Block Courage Awards as the 2003 Pro Football Weekly Assistant Coach of the Year. Hub Arkush, publisher/editor of Pro Football Weekly, will formally present the award to Crennel during the Courage Awards event on Tuesday, March 16 at the Baltimore Convention Center.

Crennel is recognized as one of the top assistants in the NFL and the 2003 campaign marked his 23rd year in the league. He was named New England's defensive coordinator on February 1, 2001. Crennel's responsibilities also include coaching the defensive line, a position in which he has coached for 12 of the past 13 seasons.

In 2003, Crennel oversaw a defense that held its opponents to 291.6 yards per game and only 14.4 points per contest during the regular season. The Patriots' defense finished the regular season ranked fifth in the AFC and seventh overall in the NFL in total defense. In addition, opposing offenses averaged less than 90 rushing yards per game against Crennel's stingy defense and his unit sent three players to the Pro Bowl: defensive lineman Richard Seymour, cornerback Ty Law and linebacker Willie McGinest.

Crennel's squad continued to thrive in the post-season. After two games, New England was ranked third among playoff teams as they held opponents to 295 yards per game and 14 points per game. The Patriots were also one of only three teams in the post-season to hold its opponents to less than 200 yards passing per contest. In the Patriots' 24-14 victory over Indianapolis in the AFC Championship Game, New England shutdown the Colts' offense as the Patriots held the Colts to 98 rushing yards and sacked Peyton Manning four times. Law picked off Indianapolis quarterback Peyton Manning three times, while safety Rodney Harrison added an interception of his own. All told, the Colts' offense turned the ball over five times. The victory landed the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXVIII where New England captured its second championship in three years.

For the past six NFL seasons, the assistant coach accolade has been presented at the Courage Awards event. Previous recipients who have been honored include: Monte Kiffin (Tampa Bay), Mike Mularkey (Pittsburgh), Marvin Lewis (Baltimore), Dom Capers (Jacksonville) and Brian Billick (Minnesota).

Tickets to the 26th Annual Ed Block Courage Awards are $125 each (table of 10 is available for $1,000) and may still be purchased by contacting the Foundation at 410.821.6252, or by visiting the organization's web site at www.edblock.com. The Courage Awards event will heighten awareness of the issue of child abuse while raising funds to support the victims of such abuse in Baltimore and other NFL cities through the Foundation's Courage House National Support Network For Kids.

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