Much has been made over the years of the fact that the Patriots took Tom Brady in the sixth round of the 2000 draft, but he wasn’t the only quarterback that the team was considering as that year’s draft wound down.
With the Hall of Fame game happening on Sunday, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked about his experience at the 2000 version of the game in his first year as the head coach in New England. Belichick reminisced about a class that included Howie Long, Ronnie Lott and Joe Montana and about a chance to see how Brady measured up to Tim Rattay, who the 49ers took in the seventh round and who Belichick says the Patriots had some interest in leading into the draft.
“It was a great class that went in,” Belichick said. “Because of the five year rule and all of that, a lot of those guys were guys that I coached against or that we battled against those years with the Giants. It was a good group. That was an interesting game because we started out a little bit on the Tim Rattay trail and [former Patriots quarterbacks coach] Dick Rehbein went down there and worked him out at Louisiana Tech, or wherever he was from. They ran a big spread-offense and he had a lot of big numbers and all of that and we kind of liked him and thought that might be a late-round pick. Then we got on [Tom] Brady, so it was kind of Brady and Rattay in that seventh round. Then, as luck would have it, we took Brady and they took Rattay and then they were playing against each other, and so we kind of got a look at that, those two quarterbacks in the sixth round, or whatever Brady was, but the same thing. I guess we took the right one.”
It’s fair to say Belichick’s correct on that one.
Rattay spent parts of six seasons with the 49ers and saw time with the Buccaneers and Cardinals before his NFL career ended after the 2007 season. He did get a mention as a possible Patriots addition in the wake of Brady’s torn ACL in 2008, but Rattay’s final snaps were taken in the UFL the next year.