Former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe was a guest on Phoenix sports radio station KTAR last week, and spoke for one of the first times about his feelings on losing his job to Tom Brady after the devastating 2001 hit from the Jets' Mo Lewis that landed him in the hospital for several days.
Asked about becoming a spectator after a decade as a college star and NFL standout, Bledsoe said, "That was a pretty interesting time in my life as I'm sure you can imagine. You know, when you come in to the league and you're a young guy and you're kind of installed as the figure head of an organization and you carry that mantle for 9 years - or 8 years and change - and have some success and put your blood, sweat and tears in to it. And then when you finally get hurt and are bleeding out there on the field and you have to go to the hospital for four or five days, and when you come back, all of that is forgotten and you're cast by the wayside, it's a bit of an eye opener.
"You know, I think that when you're young and you come in and have some success, you think you're bulletproof to an extent. But you find out fairly quickly that football is a replacement business and that no matter what it is that you've done, you're as good as your last play. And then to have all of that going on where I couldn't get my job back and this other kid was in there playing, begrudgingly now I can say he was playing awfully well and has gone on to play very well.
"But you know, there was some soul searching going on just to figure out how I was going to handle that whole thing. But you know, I swallowed my pride and showed up for work and got ready to play every week."
Bledsoe goes on to talk about the excitement he felt getting to play in the AFC Championship game in 2001 after Brady suffered a knee injury, and also discussed one of the other memorable hits of his career (aside from Lewis' tackle).