A lot has changed for former Ole Miss running back Brandon Bolden in the past six years. As a special teams player for the New England Patriots, he doesn’t get to touch the football a lot, but he has played in two Super Bowls with another one to come on Sunday.
Despite the ups and downs, Bolden isn’t complaining. “After being [with the Patriots] for four years, I can’t imagine my career being what it is,” Bolden told the Clarion Ledger. “Third Super Bowl appearance now. Just being through so much there recruiting-wise, playing-time-wise, getting to play, getting injured, dealing with a bunch of off-the-field stuff. Just to be here now, [I feel] just extremely blessed.”
Bolden’s fellow Patriots heaped praise on him for his “team-first approach” in a largely unsung role. “To start, he’s a great guy,” punter Ryan Allen told the Clarion Ledger. “Not everybody can fully accept and take on that role—and not just take it on, but be very good at it.”
“It’s hard to be versatile,” Allen added. “Players who can do multiple things are more valuable at the end of the day. It’s a testament to his character.”
Fellow special teams ace Matthew Slater agreed. “What’s impressed me most about Brandon is his selflessness. He’s come in here since Day 1, and when they told him he had to play in the kicking game, he never complained. He bought in, he was excited about doing it, he wanted to learn. And I think, every year, what you’ve seen is him getting better and better. And this year I think has been far and away his best year in that department.”
Bolden contributed on special teams throughout the Patriot’s 2017 season, including two tackles in the win over Houston on Sept. 24 and one tackle per game against the Carolina Panthers, the New York Jets, the Atlanta Falcons, the Denver Broncos and the Miami Dolphins.
He also got some playing time on offense in the Patriots’ Dec. 31 game against the Jets, carrying the ball nine times for 46 yards, including a 20-yard pick-up in the fourth quarter, and catching a 7-yard pass.
For his part, Bolden remains humble and attributes much of his success to his alma mater. “Thank God for the teammates I had, the coaches I came across, teaching me to be the person I am. That’s still true to this day. I still look for those same qualities, and I learned that from Ole Miss.”
Compiled by staff.