New England Patriots: 30 greatest players in franchise history

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
16 of 30
New England Patriots
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Jon Morris. 15. player. 47. . C. (1964-74)

  • AFL All-Time Team
  • 6x First-Team All-AFL (1964-69)
  • 6x AFL All-Star (1964-69)
  • Pro Bowl (1970)
  • New England Patriots Hall of Fame

The Patriots have certainly had some excellent offensive linemen in their history. However, nobody has done a better job of snapping the ball to the quarterback than center Jon Morris. Morris first joined the Patriots as a fourth-round pick in the 1964 AFL Draft out of Holy Cross. While he was a second-round pick of the Green Bay Packers in the NFL Draft of the same year, Morris opted to play professionally in Massachusetts over Wisconsin.

The AFL had been humming along for four years when Morris first arrived in Boston. The Patriots were coming off their only AFL East division crown. Right away, Morris was an impactful player along the Boston offensive line.

He made the AFL All-Star Game as a rookie in 1964 and would do so for six-straight seasons. Morris would also be named First-Team All-AFL each of those six seasons with the Patriots. It helped that he was always ready to play, not missing a game for the Patriots until 1972, a full nine years removed from his playing days at Holy Cross.

When the AFL and NFL merged in 1970, Morris proved to be as good of a center as anybody in the expanded league. He made his only Pro Bowl roster in 1970, allowing him to string together seven consecutive glorified exhibitions in both major professional football leagues.

Simply put, Morris was a rock on the Patriots offensive line for his first nine years in the league. However, he would only play a combined five games in his final two seasons with the Patriots in 1973 and 1974.

Though he might have been washed in his last two years with the Patriots, Morris dispelled that notion by having four more productive seasons in the NFL before retiring. Morris would join the Detroit Lions in 1975 and spend the next three NFL seasons in the Motor City, playing in and starting 42 games. He spent his final NFL season in 1978 with the Chicago Bears as a reserve playing in 10 games before retiring at the age of 36.

Overall, Morris made seven football All-Star games and six all-league teams in his 11 years with the Patriots. He played in 138 games as a member of the Patriots, helping guide the offense from the AFL days in Boston to the early NFL days in Foxborough.

To be fair, Morris never really played for a winner, so that certainly hurts his case for Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement. He did however gain entry into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2011. Maybe even more impressive, Morris rightfully earned his spot on the AFL All-Time Team as one of the best centers in the history of that professional football league.