FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — As the New England Patriots get ready to defend their title, the team on Monday immortalized a former player who helped them win back-to-back championships.
Strong safety Rodney Harrison was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame alongside the late Leon Gray.
Harrison played the final six seasons of his career in New England and was a force out of the defensive backfield, amassing a combined 441 tackles, nine sacks and eight interceptions. The Patriots reached the Super Bowl three times in his tenure, winning in 2003 and 2004.
Gray was an offensive tackle who joined the Patriots as a rookie in 1973 after he was cut by the Miami Dolphins. He became an integral part of the team’s offense, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl in 1976 as well as a first-team All-Pro selection in 1978. That year, he helped the team rush for 3,165 yards, an NFL record that still stands to this day.
Gray passed away in 2001 at the age of 49. He was honored Monday by his linemate and fellow Patriots Hall of Famer John Hannah.
Following the ceremony, the Patriots held their annual night practice on the main field at Gillette Stadium, which was open to season ticket holders and residents of Foxboro.