On Wednesday, the New England Patriots announced the three newest finalists for potential enshrinement into the Hall at Patriot Place. Matt Light, Mike Vrabel, and Richard Seymour all were crucial cogs in the Patriots first three Super Bowl Championships and in August, one of them will officially become the 27th member of the Patriots Hall of Fame.
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Whoever wins the election will join Ty Law, Kevin Faulk, Willie McGinest, Troy Brown, and Tedy Bruschi as the latest member of the Hall who won three Super Bowls between 2001-2004. Light is on the ballot for the first time. For Vrabel, this is the second year and for Seymour, the third.
Drafted in the second round of the 2001 NFL Draft, Matt Light instantly became the most crucial member of the offensive line. Tasked with protecting Tom Brady’s blindside, Light suited up for 62-of-64 games his first four seasons including starting every game from 2002-2004. In Light’s first four seasons, the Patriots won three Super Bowls. Injuries limited Light to just three games in 2005. However, from 2006 until 2011 when he retired, Light played in 90 of 96 possible games.
In addition to his achievements on the field, Light was and continues to be a pillar of the community. His charitable endeavors are well documented and have not stopped since his retirement. In fact, if anything, they have increased with the growth of the Light Foundation.
Vrabel is one of the first and possibly best examples of how Bill Belichick takes other teams underutilized players and turn them into stars. One of the building blocks of this Patriots dynasty. Originally, Vrabel was drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft. He spent his first four seasons with the team where he started exactly zero games. In 2001, Vrabel signed with the Patriots and started 12 games his first season on a defense that went on to win the Super Bowl. From that point on, Vrabel was irreplaceable in the Patriots defense, playing just about every position in the front seven.
One of Vrabel’s best seasons came in 2007 during the Patriots run to 16-0. That year, Vrabel was credited with 55 tackles, four forced fumbles, and a career-high 12.5 sacks. Additionally, in 2003, Vrabel collected 9.5 sacks in just 13 games. His 73 tackles in 2005 are a career high. Perhaps the most astonishing stat associated with Vrabel is that he had 10 career receptions for the Patriots—all for touchdowns. This includes one in Super Bowl 38 and one in Super Bowl 39. He had two more receptions in his final two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and, of course, they were both touchdowns. Currently, Vrabel is preparing to enter his first season as coach of the Titans.
— Full Press Patriots (@FPC_Patriots) April 19, 2018
The Patriots selected Seymour with the sixth overall pick in the 2001 Draft. To this day, Richard Seymour remains the highest draft pick in the Bill Belichick era in New England. In fact, the Patriots haven’t had a pick in the Top 10 since they drafted Jerod Mayo 10th overall in 2008. Despite never filling the stat sheet (by virtue of his assignments), Seymour was a force to be reckoned with.
|8 yr||8 yr||NWE||111||105||2||6||29||3||6||68||1||39.0||223||134|
|4 yr||4 yr||OAK||53||52||0||0||9||1||2||13||0||18.5||101||38|
Early on in his career with the Patriots, Seymour played all across the defensive line. His best season came in 2003 where he collected 8.5 sacks and was credited with 34 tackles. One shy of his career high. Additionally, he was also credited with 10 passes defended. Not surprisingly, that season ended with a Super Bowl Championship. And just like Vrabel, Seymour’s final season with the Patriots came in 2008. He was shipped off to Oakland following that season and spent the final four years of his career with the Raiders.