Ahead of the 2016 trade deadline, the New England Patriots made what appeared to be a relatively minor move: they sent a sixth-round draft selection to the Detroit Lions to acquire linebacker Kyle Van Noy and a seventh-round pick. Van Noy was in his third year in the NFL at the time, and had shown little to justify his status as a former second-round draft pick — mostly because the Lions insisted on using him in roles not suited for his versatile skillset.
New England, meanwhile, allowed him to move all over the formation to create mismatches and enabled him to win with his sound fundamentals, high football IQ and athleticism. The results spoke for themselves: Van Noy was used rotationally during his first half-season with the team, but still contributed to a team that won the Super Bowl at the end of the year. The following season, however, his role increased and he became a starting linebacker.
While 2017 did not end with another title, Van Noy’s potential in the Patriots’ system was on full display as he laid the groundwork for what would become two tremendous campaigns in 2018 and 2019 — the first of which seeing him add to his trophy collection by playing a key role during one of the best defensive performances in NFL history: Van Noy registered a sack and three quarterback hits in Super Bowl 53, en route to a 13-3 Patriots victory.
And even though the 2019 team was unable to defend its title, Van Noy again was a key member of the team: starting at outside linebacker and seeing considerable action against both the run and the pass, the 28-year-old was a cornerstone of the number one scoring defense in all of football. His successful individual campaign in combination with his championship pedigree and experience subsequently made him a popular player on the free agency market this year — one that ended up with the Miami Dolphins.
On Wednesday, and with his deal in Miami set to become official, Van Noy released a statement on social media to thank the Patriots and their fans for his support since 2016:
It has been an honor, a privilege and a blessing to have represented the New England Patriots organization for the past three and a half seasons. I am so fortunate that Coach Belichick brought me in and gave me a chance to contribute and leave my mark.
Thank you to Mr. Kraft, Coach, Nick, the Patriots staff and my teammates for helping me grow as a player and as a person. I leave with two rings, but hundreds of memories that I will cherish forever.
The Patriots fan base has supported me through and through and I appreciate all the love (and even some of the doubters!).
Most importantly, I am appreciative of everyone who helped me and Marissa spread our message of giving back. The New England community has been home to us and supported the Van Noy Valor Foundation’s efforts to give back to foster youth and others at need. I am blessed to be in my position and know our work made a difference... and will continue to do so.
You all welcomed me with open arms and that won’t be forgotten. Pats Nation is more than a fan base; you have become a family.
I may be on an opposite sideline in the coming years, but I will always have a piece of New England in my heart.