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Homegrown Heroes: The Original Boston Patriots

It is a well-known fact that most expansion teams run on local flavors. Whether they come from the local high school or starred in the local collegiate program, all that the infant team cares about is getting rumps in the seats in hopes that they can attract an audience and reap the financial benefits for the afternoon. The 1960 Boston Patriots had eight players that hailed from the Boston area. These are their stories.

Jim Colclough

Jim Colclough was born on March 31, 1936 in Medford, Massachusetts where he became a star end at Quincy High School before playing at Boston College. discouraged by his placement in the 1959 NFL Draft (30th round), he moved to Montreal and played for the Alouettes as a defensive back that year. But then a sparkling new opportunity arose.

The AFL officially began business in 1960 and Jim Colclough's hometown Patriots came calling. He gladly accepted their offer and soon became one of their best players, receiving 666 yards and catching nine touchdowns as a "rookie". He improved over the next several years, gaining 757 yards and scoring nine touchdowns in 1961 and gaining 868 yards and scoring 10 touchdowns as an AFL All-Star in 1962.

Sometime after losing to the Chargers in the 1963 AFL Championship Game, he partnered with Derek Sanderson and Joe Namath to open Bachelors III in Boston. Unfortunately, that business was ultimately shuttered after the AFL-NFL merger when commissioner Pete Rozelle grew concerned over the shady characters that frequented the establishment.

Jim Colclough retired in 1968, having earned a spot on the Patriots' all-decade team of the 1960s. He died from Hepatitis C on May 16, 2004.

Bob Dee

Hailing from Quincy and after playing at Holy Cross, Bob Dee didn't pan out as a Redskin. It wasn't a surprise. After all, he was a lowly 19th-round pick in the 1955 NFL Draft. Hardly anything is expected of someone drafted so low. But this is America, land of opportunity. After he was cut in 1958, Bob Dee knew that it was only a matter of time until he would get another chance.

That opportunity came when the Boston Patriots were born in 1960. When the old Holy Cross defensive lineman suited up in the red, white and blue, little did he know just how much his life would change. When he saw the ball squirt out of the Buffalo player's arms, he saw an opportunity and landed on the ball as it resided in the endzone. It was the first touchdown in AFL history.

Over the course of the next 112 games, Bob Dee would continue to dominate, often while wearing the same helmet. He would earn Pro Bowl honors in 1961, 1963, 1964 and 1965 while being named second-team All-AFL in 1962 and 1964. While the statistic was nonexistent in those days, he retired with 17.5 sacks.

He retired in 1967 and passed away on April 18, 1979. He was posthumously inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1993.

Jerry DeLucca

Jerry DeLucca was born on July 17, 1936 in Peabody, Massachusetts. After starring at Peabody Veterans Memorial High School, he earned a scholarship to Tennessee. However, the budding offensive tackle didn't fit in the SEC and transferred to Mid-Tennessee State where he graduated in 1957. Although he was drafted in the 7th round by the Chicago Bears, he never played for them, instead playing for the Toronto Argonauts in 1958 and the Philadelphia Eagles in 1959.

After he was cut by the expansion Cowboys in training camp, Jerry DeLucca heard of another opportunity and signed with the Patriots. He played well for the Patriots, starting at right tackle for their frist two years of existence and earning 2nd-team All-AFL in 1961.

From here, he was forced to bounce around for the remainder of his career. Despite his tremendous performance the year before, the Patriots traded him to the Buffalo Bills in 1962. Although he started every game for the Bills that year, DeLucca was traded to the Texans who then traded him to the Patriots just weeks later. the Patriots had recently found themselves in desperate straits, having lost Milt Graham for a significant amount of time due to injury. They needed depth and Jerry DeLucca was ready.

Once Graham got healthy that November, the Patriots released DeLucca. He tried out for the team the following offseason, but was cut and then resigned that November. At the conclusion of the 1964 season, Jerry DeLucca retired. He died on July 8, 2017.

Tom Greene

Not much is known of Tom Greene's early life. He was born on January 1, 1938 and attended Holy Cross where he played well in football but may have been even better in lacrosse. He won the O'Melia Award as a sohpomore after beating Boston College 7-0. and won the Frazier Trophy twice after twice beating Syracuse. He even made it onto the 1958 NCAA Guide, the first person from the East to do so.

In football, he played well enough as a quarterback/punter to catch the attention of the AFL. In his two starts for the Patriots in 1960, he completed 27 of 63 passes for 251 yards and a touchdown while coughing up six interceptions. He signed with the Texans the following year where he promptly didn't play and retired when the season was finished. He was inducted into the Holy Cross Hall of Fame in 1973.

Joe Johnson

Joe Johnson was born on November 3, 1929 in New Haven, Connecticut and attended Boston College. The Green Bay Packers liked what they saw in the young running back and drafted him in the 11th round of the 1953 NFL Draft. As a running back, he was arguably better at catching passes rather than carrying the rock.

His best day on the ground was 78 yards in a 31-14 win over the Cardinals in 1955. When the Patriots signed him in 1960, they probably saw someone who could be like a modern-day slot receiver. A nifty man between the wideout and the tight end who could befuddle the average nickel back. He lived up to the hype in a late November game against the Oilers. Although they lost to Houston 24-10, Johnson gained a career-best 123 yards through the air.

For that inaugural season, he caught 11 passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns, with two of those coming in a single contest against the Texans. After catching nine passes for 82 yards and a touchdown the following season, Joe Johnson retired from the game. He was later inducted into the Boston College Hall of Fame.

Alan Miller

Alan Miller was born on June 19, 1937 in Mount Kisco, New York, attending Boston College where he starred as the Eagle's fullback. After earning All-East/All-New England honors in 1959, he signed with the Patriots for their inaugural season.

He rushed for 416 yards and two touchdowns that year while averaging an impressive 4.1 yards per carry. He was impressive as a receiver too, catching 29 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns. But despite his versatility, he was traded to the Raiders where he earned an invitation to the AFL All-Star Game the following year. Of all the players the Patriots should have kept from that squad, his departure may have hurt the most. When he retired in 1965 -as a Raider- he had rushed for 1,395 yards and 10 touchdowns while receiving 1,470 additional yards through the air and catching 11 touchdowns.

Ross O'Hanley

Ross O'Hanley was born on February 16, 1936 in Everett, Massachusetts where he starred at Christopher Columbus High School, earning a scholarship to Boston College. He was a good player at Boston College, earning the distinguished Thomas F. Scanlon Award for outstanding character, scholarship and football ability.

After his stellar career as an Eagle concluded, the safety signed with the Boston Patriots. He was an instant star, earning All-AFL honors in his rookie year after picking off three passes. Two years later, he picked off five and managed to pick off six over the next two years. He scored the only touchdown of his career in 1964 and gained a career-best 120 yards off of those turnovers. After picking off just one pass in 1965, he retired. Ross O'Hanley died on April 7, 1972.

Butch Songin

Edward F. "Butch" Songin was born on May 11, 1924 in Walpole, Massachusetts. Growing up a short distance from Boston, Butch grew in love with the Boston Bruins of the NHL and would carry that love with him for the rest of his life, dividing his time between the ice and the gridiron. He was a three-year starter at Boston College, leading the Eagles as their quarterback while throwing for 2,534 yards and 30 touchdowns over his career.

While he was leading the Eagles football team to victory, Songin also enjoyed a wonderful time on the ice, winning a national championship with the Boston College hockey team in 1949. It would be the Eagles' last until 2001. Inspired by his time on the ice, Butch Songin would eventually found Pike's Peak Hockey Club. Today, that club is Boston College's oldest hockey booster organization.

He would end his hockey career in the middle of his football career, playing one game for the Worcester Warriors of the EHL in 1955. Years later, his nephew would carry on the family tradition, playing right wing for the Bruins.

Meanwhile, on the football field, Butch Songin traveled a long, winding road to the AFL. After college, he played for the Erie Vets in 1950, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the CFL in 1953-1954 (winning the Grey Cup in 1953) and ultimately signed with the Patriots in 1960.

On Opening Day, he crouched proudly under center as the Patriots' first quarterback. As a "rookie", he threw for 2,476 yards and 22 touchdowns. The following year, he split duties with Babe Parilli but still threw for 1,429 yards and 14 touchdowns.

He was traded to the New York Titans the following year and although he started the first game of the 1962 season, he was quickly replaced by Lee Grosscup. From there, Butch would go on to play for several minor league teams such as the Springfield Acorns, the New Bedford Sweepers and the Hartford Charter Oaks before calling it a career in 1966.

After football, he became the Chief Probation Officer in the Wrentham District Court. Unfortunately, he didn't have much time to delve into that new career as cancer would soon attack him. He passed away on May 12, 1976 in Foxborough, a short drive from where the Patriots now played their games.

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