Fred Marion is one of three finalists for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame this year, along with Troy Brown and Bill Parcells.
Parcells was a nominee in 2011 when Drew Bledsoe was ultimately selected by fans for induction.
Marion and Brown are first-year nominees and both were available on conference calls Tuesday to discuss the honor.
Marion, a safety from the University of Miami was taken in the fifth round in 1982 and was an All-Pro in 1985. He had 29 career interceptions and was named to the Patriots All-'80s team and the 35th and 50th anniversary teams.
"Im very floored by the mere nomination to the Patriots Hall of Fame," said Marion. "I definitely want to thank Mr. Robert Kraft for actually making it all possible, what a wonderful family. I just cant say enough great things about the way he treated the former players who played long before he owned the team and just extended his kindness to us and let us not be forgotten, that speaks volumes. I am very honored to even be nominated."
Brown would seem to be the heavy favorite to win induction when voting is opened to the public.
Houston Antwine, a six-time AFL All Star and a member of the AFL's All-Time Team, was the third nominee in 2011.
But Antwine's support as a conventional nominee dried up last month when some members of the Hall panel deemed Antwine's chances of beating out Brown to be slim. Rather than put him up again, some voters decided to leave Antwine off their ballots and allow the veteran's committee to address him in the future. Which opened the door for Marion to become a nominee.
Marion was asked what he'd like people to recall about his 10-year career.
"Id like them to remember that I was always prepared and I left everything on the field," he explained. "I came to play and I think that I was always around the ball. I was a student of the game. I always did a lot of film study and I wasnt afraid to make contact. I would come up and hit the best of them, and wasnt afraid to be an aggressive player. I played in the secondary. I think I played a great centerfield as a free safety, always trying to fool the opposing quarterback, let him think they had something when there was nothing there. I was able to go get the ball. Id like to be remembered as I played the game the way we played the game back then and thats hard and physical on each and every down."Marion, who is currently a sales manager at a Toyota dealership in Sanford, Florida, was asked if he ever feels like he was built a decade or so too early.
"I think everything has its purpose and everything has its time," he said. "I was fortunate to be able to play when I played and Im sure like a lot of other guys who pioneered the game, you always wish you were born at a later time. Unfortunately, our time was our time. I think that Gods in control of everything. Im a true believer in that. I was fortunate to play in the era I played in."