The Patriots have announced that center Jon Morris has been elected to the team's Hall of Fame. Here is a portion of the team's press release, courtesy of the team's media relations department:
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced today that center Jon Morris has been selected to the Patriots Hall of Fame by a 10-person senior selection committee. The selection was made on Friday, March 25 and affirmed with a phone call from Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, who notified Morris of his induction later that afternoon.
"It was overwhelming," said Morris of his reaction to the call from Kraft. "I thought my days were numbered. This announcement came as a complete surprise. I consider this the crowning achievement of my football life and I am so thankful to the Kraft family and the selection committee for allowing me to experience this feeling.
"When I first retired from the Patriots, the alumni were not meant to feel welcome. I don't say that to be critical, it was just different. Once your career was over, it was over. You cannot be a player forever and we understood that. But, when the Kraft family came along, they changed all that. It hasn't been just a one-time thing, either. They have maintained a relationship with the alumni since he bought the team. I just think that is the neatest thing that has ever happened. It is one of the reasons that being in the hall of fame is such a big deal. They have made it a big deal. I give the Krafts all the credit for making the alumni feel so special and I look forward to being a part of this year's hall of fame ceremony."
Morris played 11 seasons for the Patriots, appearing in 130 games from 1964-74. He earned seven consecutive All-Star appearances with six AFL-All Star games (1964 through 1969) and was an AFC Pro Bowl center in 1970. His seven league All-Star selections rank second in Patriots history behind Pro Football Hall of Famer John Hannah (9). Morris was the first Patriots' player to be selected to the NFL Pro Bowl. Morris anchored an offensive line that opened holes for Jim Nance to amass a team-record 45 rushing touchdowns from 1965-71. He was selected by the Patriots in the fourth round of the 1964 American Football League Draft out of Holy Cross. He was also selected in the second round by Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers, but he knew Boston Patriots head coach Mike Holovak and chose to stay in New England to pursue his professional football career. After his playing career, Morris worked as the color commentator on Patriots radio broadcasts from 1979 to 1987, followed by color analysis of NFL games for NBC television. Morris also played for Detroit (1975-77) and Chicago (1978).
Fans will have the opportunity to vote in one of three finalists starting that will be revealed on April 15th on Patriots.com. Drew Bledsoe and Bill Parcells are expected to be two of the candidates.