Former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe on Friday was announced as one of three finalists for this year’s selection to the Patriots’ Hall of Fame. Fan voting for the honor runs through May 15.
In a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Bledsoe called his nomination “a great honor” and praised Patriots fans for being “so supportive and passionate.”
When asked about his most memorable moments of his nine-year career with the Patriots, the 39-year old Bledsoe recalled the “overwhelming welcome” he received after being drafted in 1993.
Replacing injured starter Tom Brady late in the first half of the January 2002 AFC Championship game, Bledsoe said winning that game to reach Super Bowl XXXVI was another memory that “will always stick with him.”
It would turn out to be Bledsoe’s last season in New England, but the retired quarterback said he “felt during [his] time [with the Patriots], the organization went from one place to a much better place.”
“I’m certainly very proud to be part of that resurgence of the Patriots,” Bledsoe continued. “But I also take some degree of pride in seeing where they’ve gone since.”
Bledsoe said that while he maintains the strongest ties with former offensive lineman Todd Rucci, he also connects with Brady on occasion.
“Obviously, he’s been one of the best players in the league for a number of years now on the field,” Bledsoe said of Brady. “[But] the way he’s been able to conduct himself with a level of class on and off the field, I’ve been proud of that.”
Since retiring four years ago, Bledsoe has stayed busy, saying that he’s “never had a day that I’ve had to figure out what I’m going to do.”
In addition to running a successful winery, Bledsoe said he is part of small private equity group that invests in clean energy projects. The work keeps him busy but allows him to form his own schedule, which recently included coaching his town's third- and fourth-grade flag football team to an undefeated record last season.
Even with a full schedule in his post-playing career, Bledsoe admitted that he still has the itch to play.
“I will always have the desire to get back out there,” he said.