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Old 04-04-2019, 05:32 PM   #1
bideau
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Leon Gray - Patriots HOF Class of '19

The veteran's committee has elected Leon Gray to the Pats HOF. Together with Hawg Hannah, he made up one of the great Tackle/Guard combos in NFL history.

Leon Gray elected into Patriots Hall of Fame

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots held their annual Hall of Fame nomination committee meeting today to select this year’s candidates for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame. Before that meeting, a 10-person senior selection committee met to discuss Hall of Fame contenders that have been retired for at least 25 years and selected offensive tackle Leon Gray (1973-78) to the Patriots Hall of Fame.

Gray was a third-round draft pick in 1973 by the Miami Dolphins as an offensive tackle out of Jackson State. He was cut by Miami before the start of the season and claimed off waivers by New England. By the 1976 season, he was viewed as arguably the best left tackle in the game. He was a key member of an offensive line that allowed a franchise-low 14 sacks in 1977. Gray teamed with Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer John Hannah to form what is generally considered one of the best guard/tackle tandems in NFL history. At the end of the 1976 season, Gray was selected to play in the Pro Bowl – the first of two such honors as a Patriot and the first of four trips to the Pro Bowl during his 11-year NFL career.

In 1976, Gray helped power a Patriots rushing game that averaged 210.6 yards per game (which remains a franchise record) and led the Patriots to their first 11-win season in franchise history. In 1978, Gray once again paved the way as the Patriots surpassed their season rushing record with 3,165 yards, an NFL record that still stands 41 years later. Gray was named a first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press, Pro Football Weekly and the PFWA. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl for the second time. After six seasons with the Patriots, Gray finished his career with Houston (1979-81) and New Orleans (1982-83). Sadly, Gray died in November of 2001 at the age of 49.

Gray was a finalist for Patriots Hall of Fame consideration in 2013 and 2015. He is the third Patriots Hall of Fame inductee to be selected by the senior selection committee. Center Jon Morris was elected by that committee in 2011 and Houston Antwine was selected in 2015.
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Old 04-04-2019, 05:43 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bideau View Post
The veteran's committee has elected Leon Gray to the Pats HOF. Together with Hawg Hannah, he made up one of the great Tackle/Guard combos in NFL history.

Leon Gray elected into Patriots Hall of Fame
Just awesome.

Cheers,
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Old 04-04-2019, 06:12 PM   #3
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Nice! I was a young when he played but I always heard how good Hannah and Gray were a great tandem.
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Old 04-04-2019, 08:47 PM   #4
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Two great NFL players. I'm really happy about this. In the early-mid 70's, when I first started following the Pats. There was alot of talk be the radio and TV play-by-play guys about 'Hannah and Gray'. That Patriots running game was often awesome. And Seymour-I remember when he was drafted. All you heard about was some wideout. And then who was this Seymour? Well-just a devastating force on the d-line for years to come (and a fullback!). Good choices
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Old 04-04-2019, 10:17 PM   #5
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Tremendous player - and a much deserved award. He and John Hannah and the rest of that great OL that set the rushing record of 3,165 yards -
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Old 04-05-2019, 06:53 AM   #6
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I loved those teams back then. Hannah was the best there ever was but Gray was great in his own right. Together they formed the best T-G tandem the Pats ever had. RIP Leon. You were great.
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Old 04-05-2019, 06:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve1 View Post
Two great NFL players. I'm really happy about this. In the early-mid 70's, when I first started following the Pats. There was alot of talk be the radio and TV play-by-play guys about 'Hannah and Gray'. That Patriots running game was often awesome. And Seymour-I remember when he was drafted. All you heard about was some wideout. And then who was this Seymour? Well-just a devastating force on the d-line for years to come (and a fullback!). Good choices
Nothing to do with this thread, but I cant resist posting these gems because Borges is a dick, and it is relative to the above:

"Belichick will not be so lucky. He doesn't have (Jimmy) Johnson's personality, which can be as jovial and charming as a snake oil salesman's. Worse, this Patriot team isn't going to win two Super Bowls any time soon..."
- Ron Borges, Boston Globe, 11/22/01

"On a day when they could have had impact players David Terrell or Koren Robinson or the second-best tackle in the draft in Kenyatta Walker, they took Georgia defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who had 1 sacks last season in the pass-happy SEC and is too tall to play tackle at 6-6 and too slow to play defensive end. This genius move was followed by trading out of a spot where they could have gotten the last decent receiver in Robert Ferguson and settled for tackle Matt Light, who will not help any time soon." - Ron Borges, MSNBC after 2001 Draft.



Congrats to Gray!
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Old 04-05-2019, 07:47 AM   #8
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Glad to hear this! He certainly deserves the honor.
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Old 04-05-2019, 01:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Undertaker #59* View Post
Nothing to do with this thread, but I cant resist posting these gems because Borges is a dick, and it is relative to the above:

"Belichick will not be so lucky. He doesn't have (Jimmy) Johnson's personality, which can be as jovial and charming as a snake oil salesman's. Worse, this Patriot team isn't going to win two Super Bowls any time soon..."
- Ron Borges, Boston Globe, 11/22/01

"On a day when they could have had impact players David Terrell or Koren Robinson or the second-best tackle in the draft in Kenyatta Walker, they took Georgia defensive tackle Richard Seymour, who had 1 sacks last season in the pass-happy SEC and is too tall to play tackle at 6-6 and too slow to play defensive end. This genius move was followed by trading out of a spot where they could have gotten the last decent receiver in Robert Ferguson and settled for tackle Matt Light, who will not help any time soon." - Ron Borges, MSNBC after 2001 Draft.



Congrats to Gray!
man I always thought that was easy come, easy go.... but it was Borges....interesting.



As for Leon Grey, he was a monster and an amazing football player but he was a tough as nails SOB. Hannah was slapped by Lambert I believe and walked away but Grey got up in his face looking to go. He knew his game was better with Hannah feared and beside him.
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Old 04-05-2019, 03:03 PM   #10
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The Sullivans screwed up '77 when they tried to play hard ball and both Hannah and Grey held out. They missed the 1st 3 games, went 1-2, and never recovered, finishing 6-8. Completely messed up what should have been a great season following the '76 run.
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Old 04-06-2019, 09:24 AM   #11
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He was a hell of a player and it'll probably make his family feel good that Leon is remembered up here. He deserves it on merit even if his career here was pretty short (6 years).

As an aside, last year's number one Isiah Wynn's size and body type looks almost identical to Leon to me. I'm not saying he's going to be great, that jury is out, but the similarities really struck me.

The Dolphins really screwed the pooch when they cut this guy. He instantly stepped in and looked like an all-pro from day one.

He should've played here a long time. It was unforgivable that the Sullivans tried to stiff him on his contract and dumped him to Houston.

I can still recall how pissed I was at losing him. Billy Sullivan responded to the heat over losing Leon by pumping the tires of 1978 draft pick Dwight "Whimpy" Wheeler and that we wouldn't miss the greedy Leon Gray at all. It was sickening how quick he was to whitewash Gray's stellar career here.

Then, of course, Wheeler proved to be one of the worst LTs the Pats ever had. He was fucking hapless.
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Old 04-06-2019, 12:32 PM   #12
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Great comments from everybody. I remember Gray as a standout from my earliest days of Pats fandom. Excellent selection.!

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Old 04-17-2019, 03:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bideau View Post
The Sullivans screwed up '77 when they tried to play hard ball and both Hannah and Grey held out. They missed the 1st 3 games, went 1-2, and never recovered, finishing 6-8. Completely messed up what should have been a great season following the '76 run.
I just checked out that 1977 season. I wanted to see how many games they held out. They both played 11 games, and so yes they held out for those first three games (1-2, as you say-they beat the Chiefs, then lost to the Browns and the Jets). I watched that Browns game on a new tv I bought at the time, as an 18-year old-I remember it was a $120 19-inch black and white model! The Browns methodically went downfield to kick a field goal to win it. That sucked then, and it still sucks today!

The Pats entered the last game 9-4, and they played the Colts, also 9-4. The Pats had a 21-3, then a 24-10 lead-and then gave up the last 3 touchdowns, to lose the game 30-24. Had they won, they would have tied the Dolphins with a 10-4 record. But they blew it early in the season, with those 2 losses. That's the year the Cowboys and Roger Staubach beat the Orange Crush Broncos in the SB.

Long story short, yes the Pats screwed themselves by not taking care of Gray. Hannah did stay on until '85. I just thought I'd share my little bit of research. (p.s., that's what the Sox did with Lynn, Fisk and Burleson. They low-balled the players around 1976-77, then let them go in 1980. Yawkey would have paid them! I can't get too mad at Sullivan though-there'd be no Patriots at all without him)
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