Drew Bledsoe wasn’t a stranger to a recharge in relevancy over the course of the Tom Brady era in New England. The Patriots routinely contended for Super Bowls across that two-decade stretch, and the media often reminisced on the role Bledsoe played in the emergence of the greatest quarterback who ever lived.
Bledsoe once again became one of the big talks of Boston sports in the spring of 2018, but it had nothing to do with his former backup or the Patriots, for who, he quarterbacked nine seasons.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft found his way to the forefront thanks to a slip of the tongue. After the Celtics outlasted the Bucks in Game 1 of their first-round NBA playoff series, Terry Rozier accidentally referred to Eric Bledsoe as “Drew Bledsoe.” Little did the four-time Pro Bowl selection — or anyone else, for that matter — know that the innocent mistake would take on a complete life of its own.
It started to unravel when the Milwaukee guard let out his Rozier-induced frustration after the C’s took a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. Eric Bledsoe asked if he took his matchup with Rozier personally, to which the former pled ignorance and pretended he didn’t know who the Celtics sparkplug was. The Bucks point guard might have been upset about his team falling into a hole, but it sure seemed like the accidental name flub was a predominant source of his anger.
The tension only simmered from there. After Milwaukee evened the series with two straight wins, Rozier and Eric Bledsoe engaged in a shoving match in Game 5. Boston eventually won that contest and Rozier maintained Drew Bledsoe’s role in the saga by showing love to the former Patriots signal-caller after the Celtics took a series lead. Boston ultimately eliminated Milwaukee with a Game 7 win at TD Garden, giving Rozier the last laugh over his backcourt counterpart.
But even though Bledsoe and the Bucks were out of the equation, Brady’s predecessor remained a central figure of the Celtics’ 2018 playoff run. Rozier saluted his new good luck charm of sorts by rocking an old-school, No. 11 New England jersey to Game 1 of Boston’s second-round series with the Philadelphia 76ers and Bledsoe returned the favor by sporting a “Scary Terry” t-shirt at a California winery during Game 2.
The fun, organically built storyline reached its peak when Bledsoe returned to the region where he broke onto the NFL scene in the early 1990s. The Washington State product was in attendance for 76ers-Celtics Game 5 and was able to chop it up with Rozier before tipoff. Bledsoe even held a media availability that night in Boston, a rarity for even the most well-known spectators.
That Celtics postseason run was one to remember, as Rozier and company ultimately came within one win of reaching the NBA Finals. But outside of what the C’s brought to the hardwood over the course of those few months, Boston fans experienced immense joy through their reunion with a favorite son.