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Willie McGinest elected into Patriots Hall of Fame

Check out our favorite photos of former Patriots LB Willie McGinest (1994-2005), who was voted by the fans for 2015 induction to the Patriots Hall of Fame.  

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots announced today that Willie McGinest, a three-time Super Bowl Champion and two-time Patriots all-decade team member, has been voted by the fans as the 24th person to enter the Patriots Hall of Fame. 

"Just a few months after I bought the Patriots, we drafted Willie McGinest in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "We came into the NFL together and will always share a special bond. During his 12-year Patriots career, Willie played a critical role in transforming us from a cellar dweller into a championship-caliber team. He was a leader of a defensive unit that propelled the Patriots to our first Super Bowl Championship in 2001. His leadership during the season and dominance in the postseason proved principal to our success in winning back-to-back titles in 2003 and 2004. Willie was a part of so many memorable moments for Patriots fans during his career. Now, I am looking forward to Patriots fans giving Willie a memorable moment as we celebrate his induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame." 

McGinest will join defensive lineman Houston Antwine, who was selected on April 2, 2015, by the senior selection committee, as the 2015 Patriots Hall of Fame inductees. The induction ceremony will be held on the NRG Plaza outside The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon this summer. The date of the ceremony will be announced once it is confirmed. The outdoor hall of fame ceremony is free and open to the public. Fans of all ages are welcome and encouraged to attend. In addition, McGinest will be honored during a halftime ceremony this year.

McGinest was the fourth overall selection in the first round of the 1994 NFL Draft out of Southern California. He played 12 of his 15 NFL seasons with the Patriots and was one of the cornerstones of the team's success in winning the Super Bowl in the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons. He ranks third in team history with 78 sacks and led the team in sacks six times, including a career high 11 in 1995. McGinest owns the NFL record with 16 career postseason sacks and set the NFL mark for most sacks in a postseason game with 4½ in a 2005 Wild Card win vs. Jacksonville. One of his most memorable plays came in a 2003 regular-season game when he stuffed Indianapolis running back Edgerrin James on the goal line with 11 seconds remaining to preserve a 38-34 win. He was a versatile player, who played defensive end and linebacker and earned Pro Bowl honors in 1996 and 2003. He helped the Patriots post nine winning seasons in 12 years, and led the team to six division titles, four conference championships and three Super Bowl championships during his career.

Beginning in 2007, the Patriots started a new hall of fame tradition, inducting one player or head coach to The Hall 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 their fans the opportunity to vote online to select each year's winner.

The New England Patriots held their annual nomination committee meeting on April 1 to nominate this year's candidates for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Those votes were tallied and the three finalists for 2015 were (listed in alphabetical order) cornerback Raymond Clayborn, offensive tackle Leon Gray and defensive end/linebacker Willie McGinest. McGinest was a first-time finalist, while both Clayborn (2014) and Gray (2013) were second-time finalists. 

Senior Selection Committee
The Patriots formed a senior selection committee in 2011 to ensure that early era players are not overlooked in the voting process. This year's committee consisted of 10 veteran media and staff members who gathered to discuss candidates who have been retired for at least 25 years to identify the player most deserving of Patriots Hall of Fame recognition.

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 Hall of Fame, the Patriots created a new way of honoring their greatest players. It wasn't until 2008, with the opening of The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon, that Patriots players, past and present, truly had a place to call home that they could share with their fans. Now, enshrinement into The Hall is an honor befitting of the franchise's greatest players and contributors, with 30-foot video pylons displaying each enshrinee. Beginning in 2007, fans became part of the hall of fame tradition and active participants in the selection process. 

This year's inductee will join other Patriot greats and two contributors as a member of the New England Patriots' Hall of Fame (listed in alphabetical order below with year of induction):

Houston Antwine (2015)
Bruce Armstrong (2001)
Drew Bledsoe (2011)
Troy Brown (2012)
Tedy Bruschi (2013)
Nick Buoniconti (1992)
Gino Cappelletti (1992)
Ben Coates (2008)
Sam Cunningham (2010)
Bob Dee (1993)
Steve Grogan (1995)
John Hannah (1991)
Mike Haynes (1994)
Jim Lee Hunt (1993)
Ty Law (2014)
Willie McGinest (2015)
Stanley Morgan (2007)
Jon Morris (2011)
Jim Nance (2009)
Steve Nelson (1993)
Vito "Babe" Parilli (1993)
Andre Tippett (1999)

Contributors:
William H. "Billy" Sullivan, Jr. (2009)
Gil Santos (2013)

About The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon
The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon is the crown jewel of Patriot Place and the only sports and education experience of its kind. Through a dazzling array of interactive multimedia exhibits and artifacts never before viewable by the public, The Hall at Patriot Place 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 expected to visit each year. For more information, please visit www.thehallatpatriotplace.com.

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