As the Patriots have worked their way through a 2021 of transition bordering on overhaul bordering on total reinvention, few if any players on the roster have transformed themselves the way Brandon Bolden has. After taking the Covid opt out that was available to him last year, what he's done since coming back is nothing short of remarkable.
A few facts:
- In his previous eight seasons in New England and Miami, he was in the single digits for receptions in six of them. He currently has 37.
- His 364 receiving yards are already more than double his career best.
- His previous high for 1st down receptions was eight. He currently has 18.
- His catch % of 84.4 is ninth in the league, and sixth highest among players with 40+ targets.
- And his rushing total of 176 is the most he's had since 2015.
Meaning that a career Core 4 special teamer and depth running back has, at the age of 31, morphed himself into the Patriots main 3rd down back. A position which has been a crucial part of this offense, from Kevin Faulk to Shane Vereen to James White. And the doubters who were frustrated when the Pats were "forcing the ball" to Bolden on screen passes and so on once White was lost for the season [clears throat, pulls shirt collar], have been proven dead wrong as he's filled White's mighty shoes admirably.
But now we find out something that makes this achievement all the more impressive. And helps explain what his motivations were behind last year's opt out:
And here's a slide show that tells the story in pictures:
There's nothing to add. No words that could express what Brandon Bolden went through, and how he's triumphed over the most real life of real life adversities that those pictures. It's a blessing for Bolden, his loved ones, and his teammates. And it's also one of those stories we can all feel good about in a time in our history when they're needed and in all too short a supply. I'd say "Let's go, Brandon," but in these dark times, even that simple sentiment has been corrupted. So instead, let's end 2021 on this high note and wish Bolden and each other continued good health. Cheers.