Trivia Tuesday: Recalling history of Patriots wide receivers

Nov 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Wes Welker (19) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 29, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; St. Louis Rams wide receiver Wes Welker (19) against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals won 31-7. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /

Taking a trip in the time machine looking at some of the best New England Patriots wide receivers.

What Patriots receiver set the franchise record for yards received with 10,716 receiving yards in his career?

We’re aware of the prowess the mystical Wes Welker; he’s fresh in our minds after the end of the 2011-2012 season. Troy Brown is another household Patriots receiver name, as he very well should be. Let’s go back to the 1980s though, and recognize Stanley Morgan as another receiver who deserves our attention.

Morgan, ranks 3rd on the all-time leading receivers list for the New England Patriots where he spent the majority of his NFL career.  But before delving into his accolades and career highlights, it’s important to take a look at the foundation that built Stanley “the Steamer” Morgan.

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Morgan began the rise to center stage at Easley High School, where his team won a state championship in 1972. Post-high school, Morgan attended and played for the University of Tennessee.  You better believe he took Tennessee by storm, holding the all-purpose yards record for the University of Tennessee at 4,642 yards.  Impressed? You probably should be, because as time passed Stanley Morgan graduated from college and was drafted in the first round and the 25th pick of the 1977 NFL Draft to none other than the Patriots.

Known as one of the fastest receivers in the NFL at the beginning of his professional career, The Steamer averaged something over 20 yards per reception. 1978 saw Morgan averaging a career high of 24.1 yards for each reception. Not surprisingly, he led the NFL in years in receptions in 1979, 1980, and 1981. His success didn’t end in after 1981; it grew further as he topped 1,000 receiving yards in 1979, 1981, and 1986.

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Statistics are all well and good to prove an athlete accomplished and memorable, but Morgan took success a step further as he is a four-time Pro-bowler. Morgan helped lead the New England Patriots to the AFC East title in 1986. Clearly, 1986 was a big year for the Steamer, as he caught 84 passes for 1,491 yards with ten touchdowns.

Taking a look at his entire 13 years with the Patriots, Morgan was part of the All-1970’s team, and the All-1980’s Team, finally being inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2007. Morgan’s final career stats include 557 receptions, 72 touchdowns and 10,716 receiving yards. The only two wide receivers in Patriots history whose stats place them ahead of Morgan on the all-time leading receiver list are Troy Brown and Wes Welker.

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While their stats are impressive, Stanley Morgan still holds the record for most touchdowns scored, yards averaged per reception, and receiving yards overall, Welker and Brown have surpassed his record of receptions. Wes Welker holds the current record with 672 receptions. Let’s be optimistic and say that on the current roster, Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman have the potential to reach Morgan, Brown, and Welker star status.

Both Brown and Morgan played with the Patriots for 13 years; for Edelman’s seven years and 327 receptions, he’s got the potential to find his way to the top of the all-time leading receiver list. Let’s not forget about Gronk! So far, the beast of a receiver has played with the Patriots for six years with 65 touchdowns (you read that right, only 2 before he surpasses Stanley Morgan). Gronkowski has 5,555 receiving yards, and a total of 380 receptions. Talk about potential.

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Clearly, the New England Patriots Receivers are onto something.