What Happened to Drew Bledsoe? Former $103 Million QB’s Path in the NFL

Drew Bledsoe was replaced by Tom Brady after nine seasons with the New England Patriots and needed to find a new city to call home.

The New England Patriots selected quarterback Drew Bledsoe of Washington State with the first overall pick in the 1993 NFL Draft. After weeks of debate, New England selected him over Notre Dame quarterback Rick Mirer.

Bledsoe started his career under head coach Bill Parcells, who was in his first season with the Patriots. New England was coming off a 2-14 season in 1992 and was hoping it found its franchise quarterback. Bledsoe threw 15 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 13 games as a rookie, and the Patriots improved to 5-11 in 1993.

Drew Bledsoe Leads Patriots to the Super Bowl

The first game of the 1994 season gave the NFL a look at Bledsoe’s potential. Bledsoe and Miami Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino exchanged touchdown passes throughout the second half in what would end a 39-35 victory for the Dolphins. Bledsoe completed 32 of 51 passes for 421 yards and four touchdown passes.

That same year, Bledsoe, who made his first Pro Bowl, led the NFL in completions, pass attempts, and passing yards. He averaged 284.7 passing yards per game and threw 25 touchdowns but also a league-high 28 interceptions. After finishing 10-6, New England lost in the AFC Wild Card round to the Cleveland Browns and Bill Belichick.

After a 5-11 season in 1995, Bledsoe and the Patriots won the AFC East the next season. He passed for over 4,000 yards again, with 27 touchdowns and 15 interceptions on his way to a second Pro Bowl appearance.

New England defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers and Jacksonville Jaguars in the playoffs to reach Super Bowl XXXI against the Green Bay Packers. Bledsoe completed 25 of 28 passes for 253 yards with two touchdowns and four interceptions in the loss to the Packers.

Bledsoe averaged 3,653.8 yards, 21 touchdowns, and 15.8 interceptions in his next four seasons from 1997–2000. Pete Carroll became the head coach when Parcells left for the New York Jets, and New England made the playoffs again in 1997 and 1998. They missed the playoffs the following season, however, and Belichick replaced Carroll.

Tom Brady Replaces Bledsoe

Bledsoe signed a 10-year, $103 million contract with the Patriots in March 2001, a few weeks after his 29th birthday. He appeared set to spend the rest of his career with the franchise as he headed into his ninth NFL season.

Unfortunately, in Week 2, Bledsoe was scrambling and was knocked out of bounds by Jets linebacker Mo Lewis. Bledsoe, who was replaced later in the game by Tom Brady, was rushed to the hospital to address internal bleeding from his chest cavity. Brady started the next seven games as Bledsoe recovered from his injuries.

After winning five of the next seven games, Belichick decided to stick with Brady and keep Bledsoe on the bench when he was healthy enough to play. New England won the AFC East and reached the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers.

MORE: Drew Bledsoe Net Worth: How Much Did the 14-Year Veteran Earn?

Brady was injured late in the first half and replaced by Bledsoe, with the Patriots up 7-3. Bledsoe completed four passes for 40 yards to score a touchdown before the end of the half. He finished the game, and New England won 24-17 to advance to the Super Bowl.

This would be the final time Bledsoe played for New England. Brady was healthy enough to start in the Super Bowl, which the Patriots would win.

Bledsoe Traded to Buffalo

After the season, New England traded Bledsoe to the Buffalo Bills for a first-round pick. In his first season with Buffalo, he passed for 4,359 yards, 24 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. As a result, Bledsoe was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year and named to his fourth and final career Pro Bowl.

The Bills started the next season with two wins, including a 31-0 home win against the Patriots in Week 1. Yet, that was the highlight of what ended as a 6–10 season. Bledsoe finished the year with 2,860 passing yards and 11 touchdowns in 16 games, career lows in both categories in seasons in which he played 6+ games.

Buffalo started 0-4 the next season and appeared headed for another season without a playoff berth. The Bills made a strong playoff push with a six-game winning streak heading into Week 17 but were eliminated when they lost to the Steelers.

After being released by Buffalo, Bledsoe reunited with Parcells to play for the Dallas Cowboys. In 2004, his first season with the Cowboys, he passed for 3,639 yards, 23 touchdowns, and 17 interceptions. Yet, Dallas lost four of its last six games to miss the playoffs.

In 2005, the Cowboys started 3-2, but Bledsoe was inconsistent. At halftime of a Week 7 game against the New York Giants, Parcells replaced Bledsoe with Tony Romo, who had been signed by Dallas as an undrafted free agent.

After the season, Bledsoe was released by the Cowboys and eventually retired. He finished his career with over 44,000 pass yards and 251 touchdowns in 14 seasons.

Since retiring, Bledsoe and his wife, Maura, have had several successful business ventures, including a vineyard in Washington called Bledsoe Family Wines. The couple also partnered with Josh McDaniels on a winery named Doubleback, with the Bledsoes serving as investors and proprietors and McDaniels serving as the winemaker and general manager.

Recently, Bledsoe made headlines with his appearance on Netflix’s ‘The Greatest Roast of All Time,’ where he joked about being benched for Brady and roasted his former teammate.

KEEP READING: Best of the Roast of Tom Brady: Hilarious and Shocking Moments

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