You know the story by now. In Week 2 of the 2001 NFL season, New England Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe gets injured on a hit by New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis, sixth-round draft pick Tom Brady takes over, and the rest is history.
As a proven veteran with New England for eight seasons, it took Bledsoe a while to adjust to watching his team from the sideline with a young QB at the helm. And when Brady and the Patriots miraculously went on to win Super Bowl 36, it didn't get much easier.
On his E:60 special that aired Sunday night, Bledsoe opened up about how it felt to lose his job to Brady.
“That was a bitter pill to swallow,” said Bledsoe. “I thought I was entitled to get my job back, and it turns out I wasn’t, and it doesn’t work that way.
“I did some soul-searching, and decided that the only proper way to handle it was to go back to work and be the best teammate I could,” he added. “I always liked and respected Tom, and I was proud of him, but at the same time it was a tough thing to deal with.”
Bledsoe revealed it took time for him to wear his Super Bowl 36 ring without feeling a sense of resentment.
“Truth be told, I didn’t wear it for quite a while,” Bledsoe said. “I didn’t know where it was for a long time. But now I wear it, every now and then.
“I’m proud of it, partly because I could've torn down the whole show if I wanted to be an idiot. And instead, I tried to be a good teammate. So I’m proud of it, but it took a little while.”
It's definitely crazy to think about how different the Patriots franchise, and the NFL as a whole, would look today had the Bledsoe injury not happened. But it's also worth thinking about how different things could have gone if Bledsoe wasn't as supportive of Brady.