As was announced on Monday, the New England Patriots will kick off their offseason program in not even two weeks: on April 15, the reigning world champions will return to Gillette Stadium to start the first phase of workouts. This in combination with the upcoming NFL draft will make for a busy few weeks in Foxboro. The two events are not the only item on the organization’s agenda these days, however.
Today, the Patriots’ franchise Hall of Fame process begins as the club’s committee — a group that includes, among others, current Patriots staff member/football historian Ernie Adams — will meet for the first time this year to discuss the latest players or coaches deserving of the honor. A candidate, of course, must be four years removed from playing or coaching in the NFL to be eligible for induction into the Hall.
Furthermore, a senior committee made up of the 10 most senior members of the selection committee will also get together to discuss any player or coach that has been retired for at least 25 years and who also has been a finalist previously. Soon after the two committees conclude their respective sessions, the nominees will be announced and the public voting process for the Patriots Hall of Fame class of 2019 kicked off.
So, who could receive the honor this year? The strongest candidates appear to be former defensive tackle and 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist Richard Seymour as well as Mike Vrabel, former Patriots linebacker and current head coach of the Tennessee Titans. Both are no strangers to this process: Seymour has been a finalist each of the last two years, while Vrabel has made the final three in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
The big question therefore appears to be who will join them among the three finalists, who will ultimately be decided in a public vote. Ex-Patriots coaches Bill Parcells, a three-time finalist himself, or Chuck Fairbanks appear to be realistic candidates, as will be defensive back Rodney Harrison, who like Seymour and Vrabel was a key member of New England’s dynasty of the early 2000s.