New England Patriots: 30 greatest players in franchise history

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
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Stanley Morgan, New England Patriots
14 Oct 1979: Wide receiver Stanley Morgan of the New England Patriots runs down the field during a game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field in Chicago Illinois. The Patriots won the game 27 – 7. /

47. . WR. (1977-89). Stanley Morgan. 17. player

  • 4x Pro Bowl (1979-80, 1986-87)
  • 2x Second-Team All-Pro (1980, 1986)
  • NFL touchdown receptions leader (1979)
  • Franchise leader in receiving yardage (10,352)
  • New England Patriots Hall of Fame

Though overlooked in the national landscape, Stanley Morgan was an outstanding wide receiver for the Patriots for 13 seasons. Morgan played in New England predominantly in the 1980s. He first joined the Patriots as the No. 25 overall pick in the 1977 NFL Draft out of the University of Tennessee.

Morgan was known for his ability to generate great yardage after the catch. He led the NFL three years in a row from 1979 to 1981 in that department. His breakout season with the Patriots came in 1978 when he had 34 catches for 820 yards and five touchdowns. Morgan followed up that 1978 campaign with an even better 1979.

In 1979, Morgan reached his first of four career trips to the Pro Bowl. He went over 1,000 receiving yards for the first time in his career with 44 receptions for 1,002 yards. Morgan led the league in yards per reception at 22.8 and in touchdown grabs at 12.

1980 was more of the same for Morgan, as he made it back to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his career. He garnered his first Second-Team All-Pro nod that fall, as he had 45 receptions for 991 yards and six touchdowns. His 22.0 yards per reception led the entire NFL.

1981 saw Morgan go over 1,000 receiving yards for the second time in his career. He had 44 catches for 1,029 yards and six touchdown receptions. His 23.4 yards per reception allowed him to lead the league for the third year in a row in that department.

After a few relatively down years in the mid-1980s, Morgan had his best season as a professional in 1986. He set career highs in receptions with 84 and receiving yardage at 1,491 to go along with 10 touchdown grabs. Morgan made his third trip to the Pro Bowl, his second All-Pro Second-Team and his only trip to the Super Bowl in his career.

Though the Patriots came up short against the 1985 Chicago Bears in the Super Bowl, Morgan had one last prime season left in the tank for New England. In 1987, he had 40 catches for 672 yards and three touchdowns in a strike-shortened season. That would be his last Pro Bowl season of his career.

Morgan played two more years after that with the Patriots. He would play one last year with the 1990 Indianapolis Colts before retiring. Morgan retired as the Patriots’ all-time leader in receptions (534), receiving yards (10,352) and touchdown catches (67). He still holds the Patriots receiving yardage record. Though the Pro Football Hall of Fame still evades him, Morgan was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2007.