2017 Patriots’ HOF
The great Pats cornerback of the 80’s, Raymond Clayborn has finally been inducted into the greatest franchise’s hall of fame. He could not believe the news when Robert Kraft called to let him know. He was in such disbelief, he had this to say, or should I say ask
“I had to ask him, ‘Are you telling me that I won the vote against Richard Seymour and Mike Vrabel?”
That is correct he beat out Super Bowl champions Mike Vrable and Richard Seymour in the final fan vote, to get his well deserved spot at Patriots place.
Drafted 16th overall in the 1977 Draft, Clayborn quickly set the bar for being a New England Defensive back, as well as the teams return specialist. Let us just take a look at how great he was.
1985 AFC Champion.
3x Pro-Bowler 1983, 1985, and 1986
36 interceptions (franchise record)
555 interception return yards
(2nd in team history)
57 kickoff returns
1977 return stats
3 touchdowns (Franchise Record)
31 yard average (Franchise Record)
1 of 20 NFL players to average 30 yards
161 consecutive games (Franchise Record)
Just amazing, his long wait was largely in due part to the 01-04 Patriots title runs and all who contributed to those championships. His wait is finally over though, he was a huge part in the Patriots playoff run in 85’. He was key to ending the 18 game losing streak to the Miami Dolphins, which was also known as the orange bowl curse. One of the teams greatest upsets in team history in that years AFC title game by a score of 31-14. They may have lost to Chicago in Superbowl XX, but it wasn’t because of his lack of trying, his fumble recovery was one of just 2 turnovers by Chicago but just wasn’t enough to compete with the Patriots 5 fumbles and a safety.
Pats owner and CEO Rober Kraft had this to say about his election.
“I was fortunate to be a season ticket holder during Raymond’s entire Patriots career, for the first half of his career, he teamed with Michael Haynes to form one of the best corner tandems in league history. Throughout his career, Raymond was a physical, shutdown corner. One of my favorite memories was watching the 1985 team advance to the Super Bowl after Raymond helped us break the Orange Bowl curse when he stymied future Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino with a dominant performance against Pro Bowl receivers Mark Duper and Mark Clayton. Raymond had six passes defensed and an interception to help us claim our first conference title. It was the greatest upset victory in franchise history at the time and one the entire New England region celebrated. It is a well-deserved honor and I look forward to presenting him his hall of fame jacket.”
Well deserved indeed Raymond, your run with the Patriots from 77′ to 89′ will always be remembered, and we are all happy to finally see you enshrined. Patriot for life, and will always be one of the greats.