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In the fourth quarter of the second game of the season, against the New York Jets, Bledsoe scrambled out of the pocket, ran the ball toward the first-down marker on the right sideline, and was leveled by Mo Lewis just as he was heading out of bounds.Brady, then Bledsoe’s backup, would later describe the collision as "the loudest hit I could ever remember hearing," and Bledsoe’s face mask as "smashed." Before the season, Bledsoe had signed a 10-year, $103 million contract designed to make him the highest-paid player in NFL history and a Patriot for life.
It’s been 15 years since that first Patriots Super Bowl win, and 10 years since Bledsoe retired from football.At 6-foot-5, he is the tallest one in the room, and unlike just about everyone else in attendance, he isn’t dressed in blue-and-Ecto-Cooler-green garb.He laughs when he gets ribbed for holding a Seattle-area preview for his latest vintages on the same day as a Seahawks playoff game.(Seattle’s Pete Carroll was Bledsoe’s coach in New England in the late ’90s, and Bledsoe still roots for his success.) "It’s every kid’s childhood dream — at least, it’s what I grew up with.But one of the downsides is just, you know, it generally doesn’t end in storybook fashion." The Seahawks will lose the game to the Falcons, 36–20, and later that night the New England Patriots will send the Houston Texans packing, 34–16.Since then, he has helped buddies launch businesses — a custom-ski company here, a coffee enterprise there — and started one of his own: the highly respected Doubleback, whose name references his own boomerang exit and return back to the Pacific Northwest.
He has coached his three sons’ high school football team in Bend, where his family now lives, and has organized ski trips in areas of British Columbia that are only accessible via private helicopter.
"We have a chance," he told his guys, who were playing for a team that had won just five games the season prior.
He was right, but not in the way that he had hoped.
(Sometimes he even marries his interests, bringing mini-kegs of his wine onto the slopes.) After living his dreams, he’s living the dream.
Since retiring, he says, "I haven’t had any days where I’ve gotten out of bed and wondered what I was going to do." He has successfully built a life outside of football in part because, even while he was It was during Drew’s sophomore year at Walla Walla High School that his father, Mac, realized he couldn’t fully trust his teenage son.
Both the Falcons and the Patriots will go on to win their conference title games.