The anniversary of the hit is surreal, as it's a little twisted to celebrate an injury. Yet, the transition at quarterback kick-started the Patriots' run to greatness. The timing of it is also strange, with Bledsoe getting officially inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame just six days ago.
Running back Kevin Faulk laughed at notion of the 10-year anniversary, though he took a step back to wonder where the time had gone. He remembered the hit vividly.
"That moment was like, 'Wow, our starting quarterback is gone. OK, what are we going to do? The backup quarterback is going to come in.' He came in and did what he had to do," Faulk said Friday.
Faulk and left tackle Matt Light are the only two players remaining in the locker room who played in New England with Brady and Bledsoe. Faulk said there was absolutely no way of knowing what Brady would become, but the team had a unique level of confidence in the second-year quarterback.
"It was still early," Faulk said of his impressions of Brady. "When he first came in, everybody will tell you, and you've seen the pictures on [television], how small he was. But you just knew how he spoke, how he talked to guys in the huddle, you knew there was something different about him."
In a weird coincidence, Patriots defensive end Shaun Ellis was actually the guy who chased Bledsoe from the pocket in that game. A longtime Jet, Ellis knifed through the right side of the offensive line, causing Bledsoe to dash toward the right sideline. Ellis continued his pursuit and remembered nearly knocking the ball out of Bledsoe's hands, which might have drastically changed the outcome of the play.
"I know he was hurt," Ellis said Friday. "I know he was hurt real bad."
Ellis said he used to get asked about the play "a lot," but the inquiries have been subdued.
"That play, Tom Brady came in and stepped up," Ellis said. "That's where he is now. And here I am today."
As are the Patriots, who have been Super Bowl contenders in every season since Brady took control.
"Speechless, just one of those things," Faulk said. "Sometimes, we say it's a coincidence, but God does everything for a reason. What happened to Drew was not a good thing, but at the same time, it was the making of something very special."
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