Drew Bledsoe posted a rare photo of himself in a Walla Walla Blue Devils uniform.

The former NFL first-overall pick has enjoyed tremendous success in his hometown of Walla Walla as a vintner. But before the tasting rooms, before the tens of thousands of passing yards, before the $100-million contract, Drew Bledsoe was a Washington All-State selection, lettering in not just football, but basketball and track while in a Walla Walla jersey.

Drew graduated in 1990, enrolling at Washington State. While wearing the crimson and silver, Bledsoe was an All-American, placed on the Heisman ballot, and secured his place among the greatest Cougs of all time. Drew Bledsoe would put a stamp on his college career by going first overall in the 1993 NFL Draft.

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Bledsoe has returned to his Pacific Northwest roots, spending a lot of time in his hometown of Walla Walla.

 

 

 

 

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Since his retirement from the NFL in 2007, Drew Bledsoe has returned to his home region. He lives in Bend, Oregon but said he plans to move back to Walla Walla in 2021, but we don't know if he has yet. His post-playing career has played out quite well with Bledsoe finding his true love in winemaking. He owns multiple wineries in Walla Walla including Doubleback, which has a tasting room you can walk by in downtown Walla Walla, as well as Bledsoe Family Wines.

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How good was Drew Bledsoe in the NFL?


The Patriots were 2-14 the season before they drafted Bledsoe; he had them in the playoffs by his second season. In Drew's fourth season, he led the Patriots to Super Bowl XXXI, where they jumped out to a 14-10 lead after the first. The Packers jumped on the Patriots' mistakes, including four interceptions by Bledsoe, to win 35-21.
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Despite the Super Bowl loss, there was no reason to believe the Patriots wouldn't be back soon. Bledsoe was one of the premier quarterbacks of his time, racking up nearly 30,000 passing yards in a Patriots uniform. In his nine years with the team, Bledsoe guided the Patriots to four playoff berths and two division crowns. Prior to the 2001 season, the Patriots made Bledsoe the highest-paid player in the league. He signed a $103 million contract that would keep him in New England for the next ten years.

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Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe talks with the media after winning the 2001 AFC Championship Game. (Getty Images)
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Drew Bledsoe would not spend the next ten seasons in New England. In the second week of the 2001 season, Drew would have a near-fatal injury against the New York Jets. This was the first week of NFL football following the events of September 11. Drew was taken to the hospital with internal bleeding.

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Stepping in for the injured Bledsoe was Tom Brady. You know the rest of the Tom Brady story, but most people don't realize Bledsoe was the quarterback for the 2001 AFC Championship Game. In Tom Brady's Man in the Arena documentary series, he said that after he sustained an ankle injury, Bill Belichick sensed he was not fit mentally to finish the game. In Brady's place returned a now-healthy Bledsoe. Bledsoe would propel the Patriots to their first Super Bowl in the Brady-Belichick era. It had become evident, however, that Drew Bledsoe had thrown his final pass in a Patriots uniform. Bledsoe was a three-time Pro Bowler in New England, guiding the Patriots to a 63-60 record, and winning two AFC Championships. Drew served a tremendous role in the early development of Tom Brady, with the latter crediting Bledsoe with helping him get through his first season as a starter.

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Quarterback Drew Bledsoe celebrates the Patriots' Super Bowl XXXVI victory over the St. Louis Rams. (Getty Images)
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After a record-setting Patriots career, Drew was traded to the Buffalo Bills in 2002.

The Patriots traded Drew Bledsoe to the division rival Buffalo Bills, and he enjoyed another Pro Bowl visit and more statistical success.

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Drew's final stop in the NFL was with the Dallas Cowboys.

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After three seasons with the Bills, he was released by the team. Bledsoe signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys and had another great passing season. However, just like with the Bills, he was unable to return to the postseason. After being benched for Tony Romo during the 2006 season, Bledsoe announced his retirement from pro football in 2007.

Since retirement, Bledsoe has remained close to Tom Brady and Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

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Drew himself has alluded to wishing things had played out differently during his time with New England, but he remains close with Tom Brady and Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who was spotted at Doubleback Winery with the Bledsoe family this winter. In regards to Brady, the seven-time Super Bowl champion told Charles Woodson that he was certain if the infamous tuck rule call in the 2001 AFC Divisional Game was called in favor of the Raiders, Drew Bledsoe would have been the starting quarterback for the Patriots in 2002.

 


Bledsoe was inducted in the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2011 and was made an honorary captain prior to the 2017 AFC Championship Game. After the Patriots defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars, Bledsoe presented Robert Kraft with the Lamar Hunt Trophy.

 

 

 

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Brady isn't the only Patriots quarterback Bledsoe has been seen showing support for. During the 2021 season, Bledsoe was seen with Mac Jones. However you want to slice it, Drew Bledsoe is one of our region's most prolific individuals, a Pro Bowl NFL quarterback, and now, a master vintner.

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