Welcome to another edition of Musket Fire’s Remembering the Patriot series in which the writer draws a random 21st century New England Patriots player from memory and remembers his contributions to the franchise. This morning, we’re taking a look back at the career of former Patriots cornerback Deltha O’Neal.
One of the more underrated cornerbacks of the first decade of the 2000s, O’Neal only spent one season in New England. He was signed by the Patriots after four-year stints with the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals; O’Neal intercepted 15 passes in Denver and 16 in Cincy.
O’Neal signed with the Patriots immediately after the Bengals cut loose the veteran. He played in all 16 games that season, starting 10. In that action, O’Neal broke up eight passes and intercepted three passes.
O’Neal’s first interception as a Patriot came in a 30-21 win over the San Francisco 49ers. Later in the year, he returned an interception 47 yards against the St. Louis Rams and then made his final interception as an NFL player a few weeks later against the Buffalo Bills.
Unfortunately for O’Neal, the Patriots missed out on the playoffs in his only season with the team, despite a 10-6 record. Over the course of his nine years in the league, O’Neal appeared in just two playoff games, losing them both.
The Patriots elected not to re-sign O’Neal at the end of the 2008 season. He had a brief spell with the Houston Texans at the beginning of 2009 before hanging up the cleats.
Be sure to check back tomorrow morning as we remember the career of former Patriots tight end Jermaine Wiggins.