Say what you want about Bill Belichick - he's boring, he's bland, he's hard to trust, he's a cheater - but you have to at least admit that the Patriot Way works.
With simple mantras like 'Do Your Job' and 'We're on to Cincinnati', Belichick has created one of the greatest coaching systems in coaching history - and it's a simple one too. Play well and you keep your job until you're too old or they can replace you, or play badly and get replaced. Again, simple.
But when some of those players get replaced whether it's by voluntarily leaving or by being coldly told by the hoodie that his services are no longer needed, what do they do? Some will go on to play elsewhere, sure, but what comes after that? Do they stay in football? Do they try things they had to stop because of their careers?
Today, we're going to look at some ex-Patriots and examine what they've done since retiring, both the good and the bad. Unlike some of our other lists, there actually is a 'disclaimer' of sorts here and that's a simple one: the ex-players have to currently be alive, meaning ex-Patriots linebacker Junior Seau, who committed suicide in 2012, would not be eligible for this list. Why are we doing that? Saying a player did xx before dying would be too easy!
Ready to see if the Patriot Way remains true when these players retire?
15 Dan Klecko, DT: Insurance
The son of former New York Jets star and New York Sack Exchange co-founder Joe Klecko, Dan had 19 tackles and two sacks in three seasons for the Patriots, winning two Super Bowls along the way from 2003-05. Klecko was also used in the passing game, recording 10 regular season catches and a playoff touchdown for the Indianapolis Colts in the 2006 AFC Championship Game against...who else but the Patriots?
After his retirement, Klecko brought that versatility to the field of insurance, where he serves as a marketing executive for Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. Their official company website reads, "Every day, our clients face massive challenges across a range of issues. Gallagher's advisors understand your business and how hard you work to deliver on your promises. We're your global partner in achieving your goals. And that only begins to describe the shared values, corporate culture and passion for excellence that define The Gallagher Way of doing business." It’s not beating the quarterback, but beating the opposing realtors has to be enjoyable.
14 Tully Banta-Cain, LB: Actor
Spending two stints with the Patriots, the first from 2003-06 and the second from 2009-10, Banta-Cain mostly served as a situational linebacker and pass-rusher for Bill Belichick's defense. Recording 15 of his 27.5 career sacks in his final two seasons, Banta-Cain now is pursuing an acting career, appearing in Officer Downe as an inmate and By the Gun - which starred Paul Ben-Victor from The Wire - as Tommy.
Banta-Cain has also dabbled in music, specifically the R&B and rap genres, but his future appears to be in acting. Perhaps Banta-Cain can take a cue from former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward and make a cameo in AMC’s The Walking Dead - or, with the potential for another writer’s strike, could step in and contribute as a writer. Three words: Tara. Must. Rise.
13 Sammy Morris, RB: High School Football Coach (Attleboro, MA)
A reliable backup running back for the Patriots during the late 2000s, Morris spent the frustrating part of the ringless years - also known as 2007-10 - in New England, rushing for 4.4 yards a carry and 12 touchdowns for Bill Belichick and friends. Unlike many of his other ex-teammates, Morris has managed to stay in football after leaving the NFL, taking a job coaching high school players at Attleboro High School in Massachusetts in 2013 under then-new coach Michael Strachan.
As of this past season, Morris was the special teams coordinator and coaching running backs for a Bombardiers team that went 4-7 in 2016. Attleboro will look to return the form they showed in 2015, when they went 7-5 and finished the season ranked 25th in the state.
12 Zoltán Meskó, P: Fighting Head Trauma
The Romanian punter who was a key member of the team's 2011 run to the Super Bowl, Meskó has been quite productive since being cut by the Patriots after the 2013 preseason. Taking the fight to the head trauma plague that has been slowly killing the sport and its players for decades, the man the Wall Street Journal once called the NFL's "most interesting man". Partnering with fellow Michigan alum Benjamin Rizzo, the two have been working on adding to the protection that football helmets are supposed to provide.
“Anyone who knows Zoltán knows how creative and energetic he is. Football is obviously something he is very passionate about,” Rizzo said in 2016. “We thought that if we could come up with something to improve the sport, and other recreational sports, we would do everything we could with the opportunity.”
11 Larry Izzo, LB: Houston Texans Special Teams Coordinator
A three-time Pro Bowler and special teams ace for the Patriots who was named to the All-NFL Pro Football Writers 1st Team in 2004, Izzo went into coaching as a special teams assistant with the New York Giants after retiring following a stint with the New York Jets. Spending five years with Tom Coughlin and winning a Super Bowl in his first year as a coach, Izzo got his chance as a main coach last year, taking the Houston Texans' special teams coordinating job under former New England Patriots assistant Bill O'Brien.
The results showed in 2016 as the Texans made their second straight postseason appearance before losing to...well, who else but the Patriots in the second round. After a strong 2017 NFL Draft, let's see if that can change this upcoming season...
10 Tim Dwight, WR: Solar Energy Advocate
An electrifying wide receiver and kick returner nicknamed 'Kamikaze', Dwight caught 19 balls for 332 yards and three scores in his lone campaign with the Patriots in 2005. Now, Dwight has gone into the solar energy business, investing in Integrated Power Corporation, a California based company who contacted him in 2008. Primarily working out of Iowa, Dwight became the president of the ISETA (Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association) shortly after it was created in 2011.
“People know who I am [in Iowa],” Dwight said in last year's Sports Illustrated profile on him. “I would show [state legislators] these projects and they were like, whoa, this isn’t 12 miles of projects, this is 400 miles of projects. These are not $20,000 investments, they’re $400,000, he says. “Seeing the growth, the projects, it hit home. ‘Maybe Dwight knows what he’s talking about.’”
9 P.K. Sam, WR: Personal Trainer
If you forgot about P.K. Sam, it's hard to blame you - and we're not joking because the guy only played two games with no stats. A fifth-round pick of the Patriots in 2004 out of Florida State, Sam also spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, and Buffalo Bills when he wasn't spending time in the CFL but has found a new calling in the form of personal training. Creating Vision Performance earlier this year, Sam's personal Linkedin page reads the following about his company:
"VISION PERFORMANCE will train athletes on all levels while focusing on hand eye coordination, film study, and their VISION in life. Helping also with life after sports by partnering with companies to provide internships and a path to success."
We at The Sporster wish Sam and Vision Performance luck in their endeavors.
8 Joey Galloway, WR: ESPN Analyst
Here's someone that you likely recognize - and yes, Joey Galloway played for the Patriots, spending three games with them in 2009 and catching seven balls for 67 yards. Best known for his stint with the Seattle Seahawks where he caught 283 passes for 4,47 yards and 37 touchdowns from 1995-99, Galloway joined ESPN's college football coverage in 2012 and has done everything from studio work to color commentary, usually arguing with fellow ESPNer and SEC 'guru' Paul Finebaum.
The relationship between the two was nearly destroyed last year, however, when Finebaum criticized Colin Kaepernick's kneeling protests and argued that 'black people aren't oppressed in America.' This led to a loud debate between the veteran college football reporter and a one-time first-round pick, though things seem to be currently fine. Now, if only Galloway can get Finebaum to stop criticizing Lane Kiffin and the Florida Atlantic University Owls...
7 Doug Flutie, QB: Boston Marathon Runner
Best known for his Heisman Trophy days at Boston College, Flutie spent four seasons with the Patriots, with the first stint coming from 1987-89 and the second being his final season in 2005. Though Flutie's career numbers in New England - a 48.5 completion percentage, 1,871 yards, and an 11-14 TD-INT ratio - were far from memorable, the former USFL star ended his career interestingly, performing a drop kick in his final game against the Miami Dolphins.
Unlike other ex-athletes, Flutie has made it a priority to remain in fit physical shape after his playing career and is a yearly participant in the Boston Marathon. Partaking in last month's event, Flutie ran a 4:50.11 for the Flutie Foundation, his non-profit organization that helps families affected by autism. Great work, Doug!
6 LaMont Jordan, RB: Restaurant Owner
Jordan wasn't long for the Patriots, playing eight games for them in 2008 and rushing for 363 yards - on 4.5 yards per rush, his best margin since a career-best 5.3 with the New York Jets in 2004 - and four touchdowns in the Matt Cassel-led offense, but he's kept some of his fame and charm after exiting the NFL in 2009. Going into the restaurant business following his retirement, the former 1,000 yard rusher opened Operation Running Back, which achieved momentary fame when it was featured on an episode of Guy Fieri's Diners, Drive Ins, and Dives.
Jordan has also dabbled in coaching, assisting running backs as a roving instructor for Football University. While Jordan's football career may have plummeted after a strong start, his post-NFL career has been interesting to say the least.
5 Jarvis Green, DE: Restaurant Owner
A lifelong Patriot who won two Super Bowls under Bill Belichick from 2002-09, Green had 14 sacks and five forced fumbles from 2006-07, adding an additional sack during the Patriots' 2007 Super Bowl run. Once his football career came to a close, Green found that he wanted to explore finding new fish to fry - specifically shrimp, as his business, Oceans 97, is devoted to wholesale shrimp. Beginning in Louisiana (Green played football at LSU), Oceans 97 expanded to Boston last year.
“Expanding Oceans 97 to New England and specifically Boston has been part of the company plan since the beginning. During my time with the Patriots, I developed a great appreciation for the Massachusetts seafood industry and its national and global reach,” Green said in a press release last spring. “We are proud to be a Boston company and look forward to the bright future for Oceans 97 Shrimp.”
4 Laurence Maroney, RB: Out Of Football
Well, with that face, it's hard to really see Maroney landing anywhere but football. In all seriousness, the former first-round pick who ran for 1,580 yards and 12 touchdowns on 4.4 yards per rush in his first two seasons - and ran for 280 yards on 61 attempts with three touchdowns during the 2007 run to the Super Bowl - has seemingly vanished off the face of the Earth. Seriously, his Twitter has been quiet for nearly two years, his website is broken, his Instagram account is private, so we're left to ask...what happened to Laurence Maroney?
Back in 2011, Maroney was arrested on weapons and drug charges in St. Louis, but no reports of him being currently incarcerated popped up. Laurence, if you're reading this, what's going on? Where are you?
3 Asante Samuel, CB: Clothing Line Owner/Designer
A fourth-round pick of the Patriots in 2003 who made his lone All-Pro team under Bill Belichick in 2007 - the same season he had six interceptions, which was somehow a decrease from the ten he racked up in 2006 - Samuel seems to be best remembered in New England for dropping a would-be Eli Manning interception in Super Bowl XLII. Would Samuel redeem himself on the next play? Let's go back and look to see what happened - oh...
Since retiring after the 2013 season, Samuel has gone into the fashion industry, jumpstarting Eighties Nation. Make sure to check out their stock because there's some interesting stuff on there. Samuel also seems to be considering undertaking a career in boxing, but we like his ability to combat trolls through words better - and that's not because we're anti-fighting, but because the guy is as shutdown when it comes to keyboard warriors as he was against number one receivers.
2 Damien Woody, G: ESPN Analyst
Why do people seem to forget that Woody, who made his lone Pro Bowl in 2002 with the Patriots, played in New England? Is it because he ended his career on those New York Jets teams who made back-to-back AFC Championship Games? Whatever the case, Woody, like Joey Galloway, is currently on ESPN and a key member of their NFL coverage.
Though Woody has yet to call an actual NFL game - which, depending on what they want to do given the retirement of Chris Berman and the firing of Trent Dilfer, could change this season - he lends a valuable ear on SportsCenter and the network's studio shows, especially when hot take pundits or people trying to make a non-story (choose your pick!) come on to discuss the league at large. Despite his intimidating size, Woody is nothing more than a cuddly commentator on TV.
1 Chad Ochocinco/Johnson, WR: Football Coach
Raise your hand if you imagined Chad Johnson/Ochocinco/Hachi Go going into coaching when he retired - and don't lie because I know I am not the only one. Spending his final regular season with the Patriots in 2011, Ochocinco performed at a career-worst level, catching 15 balls for 276 yards and a touchdown after it initially seemed like he would be the perfect replacement for Randy Moss. Unofficially retiring after being cut by the Miami Dolphins in the 2012 preseason, Ochocinco spent last summer interning at the Cleveland Browns camp under former Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson... Before randomly leaving.
But wait, he can explain! Chad had to see his daughter before she competed in the Junior Olympics as a sprinter.
"I had to explain to her, 'You've got to go out there and run well and be able to do so without me being here because I have to be in Cleveland.' That's something I needed to be able to tell my daughter face to face, not over the phone, not via text and she has to understand that daddy has to work."
Is Chad Ochocinco maturing? I never thought I'd see the day...
Which ex-Patriots do you think are doing the best in retirement? Make sure to let us know in the comment section below.