New England Patriots

A New England Patriots helmet during the game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

A New England Patriots helmet during the game between the New England Patriots and the Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

From the NFL Newswire at 985TheSportsHub.com

Former Patriots left tackle Leon Gray has been selected for induction into the Patriots Hall of Fame, the team announced on Thursday. The 10-person senior selection committee selected Gray before the annual nomination committee from the pool of ex-Patriots retired for at least 25 years.

Gray played 11 NFL seasons, six of them with the Patriots. The Dolphins drafted him in the third round of the 1973 draft but released him before the start of the season. The Patriots then claimed him off waivers. Gray went on to play 78 of a possible 86 games in six seasons in New England, starting 77.

Known affectionately as “Big Dog”, Gray started at left tackle from 1974-78 next to seven-time All Pro left guard and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee John Hannah. Gray earned First Team All-Pro honors from 1978-80, the last two seasons being with the Houston Oilers.

Together, Gray and Hannah formed perhaps the most formidable tackle-guard tandem of their era.

Gray passed away in 2001 at the age of 49. He was previously a finalist for the Patriots Hall of Fame in 2013 and 2015. He’s the third ex-Patriot to earn induction through the senior selection committee, after center Jon Morris in 2011 and defensive lineman Houston Antwine in 2015.

The Patriots Hall of Fame nomination committee will select three finalists to choose one for induction along with Gray later in 2019. Finalists are expected to be announced sometime next week. The Patriots then give fans a month to vote for the most worthy candidate. They are the only NFL team that grants fans that responsibility.

Gray played three seasons with the Oilers and two with the New Orleans Saints after spending his first six with the Patriots. In all, he played 142 games from 1973-83 and earned three First Team All-Pro distinctions, along with four Pro Bowl appearances.

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