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Drew Bledsoe's wife Maura Bledsoe does not think that Drew Bledsoe was simply a rough draft for Tom Brady. While it's true that Bledsoe sort of looks like a poor man's Brady, he may end up being a smarter businessman than Tom himself. You can ask Maura about that, because her name was on a real estate purchase back in 2004 for a plot of land that is now worth $10 million. Of course, they put a ton of money into the property by building a sprawling mansion on top of it, but I am guessing they will still come out far ahead of their investment.
Maura has popped out four lovely mini-Bledsoes in the past decade. She's also taken part in, you guessed it, charity events and benefits sponsored by Bledsoe's wallet and the lovely community of Bend, Oregon, where their family lives. Drew's wife Maura also oversaw Drew's venture into the winery business, which he started immediately after he retired from football. It was apparently a seamless transition because they'd been planning to go into the wine business for some time with their friend Chris Figgins.
Ask Maura to pop you a bottle at their sprawling estate, and I'm sure she wouldn't mind. The couple is very proud of the wine, and it has recently placed 53rd overall in Wine Spectator's "top 100 wines." I'm sort of a wine guy myself, and I may have to go pick me up a bottle of the stuff. In addition to being what she calls the "family taxi," Drew's wife Maura is a member of the local Family Access Network board, which is a community organization that helps poor families find food, shelter, clothing, and if they're very very lucky maybe some nice bottles of wine? Come on, Maura, you know you've got four-hundred cases of the stuff in your basement.
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Running a site that's chronicled the Wives and Girlfriends of nearly 2,000 professional athletes in our history, you hear from the WAGs directly every so often. There have been less than pleasant conversations for sure, but we've also been lucky enough to have great interactions as well. And one of our favorite interactions of all time is with New England Patriots cornerback Alfonzo Dennard's girlfriend Ashley Brown.
PlayerWives.com: So we usually open up giving you the option to tell your story. How long have you and Alfonzo been together? How did you meet? Kids?
Ashley Brown: Alfonzo and I met through a mutual friend around the end of his junior year of college, we both were skeptical about going on a "blind date" but after that first date, we were inseparable! We have 2 daughters, Jurnee is 4 and Lark is 1. I'm also currently pregnant with twins due Sept 14' Alfonzo happens to be a twin himself and they run in every generation in my family.
PW: The Patriots have made some major changes to their pass D this offseason. How does Alfonzo see his role changing next year?
AB: One thing I learned about the NFL is you can't control the changes that come, the best thing for him to do is get better everyday and work hard to support his family.
PW: What's it like watching Alfonzo go out there every Sunday knowing injury is always lurking around the corner?
AB: Each game is incredibly nerve racking and intense! We just pray and know that whatever happens is for a reason, and we can't control the man above.
PW: The NFL is a fickle league where there's eye popping money to be earned, but also the looming threat of being cut at any given moment and having to up and move your lives. While so far, New England has been your only professional home, how does a family prepare for that?
AB: There's really no way in preparing for something like that, we try and take it day by day. It's something that you really never know how to handle until it happens.
PW: What has been the best thing about life in the NFL? What's been most challenging?
AB: The best thing has been watching Alfonzo build his career and live his dream! From watching his college games to getting drafted, it's all an amazing experience! Obviously moving away from our hometown, family and friends has been challenging but it's just another chapter in our book of life! We're absolutely blessed to be here and thankful for the opportunity.
PW: Alfonzo has had some off the field issues, which dropped him in the draft, and saw him serve some time this offseason. With a media hungry town that loves it's sports, how has it been on you, Alfonzo, and your family/?
AB: Thankfully we've managed to get through it with our chins up knowing that we can now put it all behind us and move forward. Nobody is perfect and everyone has their chosen obstacles.
PW: There has been plenty of discussion about that talked about Alfonzo mentoring his cousin Darqueze Dennard (former Michigan State cornerback and Bengals rookie) about keeping his profile clean off the field. Alfonzo seems to have grown from the incident before the 2012 draft and helping others learn from his mistake. Is that a fair observation?
AB: Absolutely! There's no going around the incident but the only way out is the way through! And it's only made him an even better father and significant other.
PW: How is Boston in general? This town love our sports, we love our athlete's, and some of the fanbase doesn't quite understand and respect boundaries. How's the experience been so far?
AB: Being from Nebraska where the Husker football team pretty much rules the town, the fan base is very similar. Nothing outrageous has happened as far as fans- I often encourage Alfonzo to reply to his fan mail and to always stop and sign an autograph when asked. But Boston in general is a great place! Definitely bigger than what we're use to so it's great to experience life up here!
PW: Even outside Boston, people love to speculate. I know there are a couple message boards out there which anyone can hop on and post unverified stories about being with or knowing someone who was with a player. How do you guys handle that? Can you truly block it out?
AB: This world is all about people speculating and thinking they know everything when in reality they really are just begging for a reaction from us. Alfonzo and I have a very long and strong relationship and it can't be broken by social media or false accusations. We don't acknowledge them therefore they remain irrelevant.
PW: There's an interesting dichotomy with Pats fans specifically. Tommy's wife just so happens to be the biggest supermodel in the world. Vince's wife is one of the most well known WAGs in the NFL. While we know Gisele isn't always in attendance, what's it like in the family section? Is it competitive? Are the other wives and girlfriends embracing of new ladies to join?
AB: The wives and girlfriends are very welcoming to new ladies! They're very helpful and willing to lend a hand.
PW: Michael Sam has raised an interesting question: How would the boyfriend or husband of a player fit in with the rest of the significant others from the team?
AB: I don't see any problem with anyone fitting in no matter what the issue may be. We're all here for our significant others and that's all that matters!
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Rodney Harrison's wife Erika Harrison shares his concerns about having had his brains bashed in so many times. The man has suffered around 20 concussions over his 15-year career. That is insane. In a recent interview with Bob Costas, Harrison had some insightful things to say about the perspective of players and the possible "lightening up of rules" in the NFL in regards to safety. He essentially said he understands when players say the game is getting soft, but that's only from the short-term view of players looking to make money and take people's heads off. From the long-term view, he says, the league is trying to improve the quality of life and health of its players.
Rodney's wife Erika was once a student at Western Illinois University, and Rodney would follow her around trying to get something going. Apparently, Rodney once told her that class was cancelled as a joke, but she believed him and went back to her dorm, thus missing a pop quiz, and for a long time she was angry at Rodney and didn't like him. This type of thing will set you back if you're attempting to romantically pursue someone. Eventually, according to Erika, Rodney's persistence paid off, and they've got kids together. Will she allow her kids to play football? We'll see. If her husband's brain turns to mush, it won't bode well for future playing prospects.
Though she has not gone on record, Rodney Harrison's wife Erika is just as concerned as he is. Twenty concussions is a crazy amount. This, remember, is just Rodney's estimate, but his playing style on the New England Patriots was pretty ferocious, and he did get knocked out a few times and then sent right back into the game after taking a few Advils. Erika would be at home or, later, with the kids watching these types of things. Now, she can watch her Rodney do sports broadcasting and analyst work behind a desk.