DALLAS >> Former NFL receiver Terry Glenn, who caught Tom Brady’s first touchdown pass with the New England Patriots in 2001, died today following a one-vehicle rollover traffic accident near Dallas that left his fiancée slightly hurt, officials said. He was 43.
Glenn died shortly before 1 a.m. at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, according to the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office. Irving police are investigating the cause of the wreck at 12:18 a.m. on eastbound Highway 114, said Chelsey Jones, a police department spokeswoman.
Glenn, a former Ohio State star who lived in the Dallas area, was driving when the vehicle left the highway, struck a concrete barrier and rolled, authorities said. Glenn was ejected.
Jones said his fiancée was taken to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries. Her name and further details weren’t released. Jones had no immediate information on whether the couple wore seatbelts.
Glenn won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top college receiver in 1995, piling up 1,411 yards and 17 touchdowns in his only year as a starter for Ohio State to set the stage for a pro career. Glenn played 12 seasons in the NFL, from 1996 to 2007, including six with the Patriots, five with the Dallas Cowboys and another year in Green Bay. He finished his career with 8,823 yards receiving and 44 touchdowns.
The Patriots drafted Glenn seventh overall in 1996 when Bill Parcells was coach, and Glenn set an NFL rookie record with 90 catches for a team that reached the Super Bowl, losing to the Packers.
Brady’s first touchdown pass was a 21-yarder to Glenn in a 29-26 overtime win over San Diego the year that Brady took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe and led the Patriots to their first Super Bowl title. The 40-year-old Brady is in his 18th season and has won five championships.
Glenn was suspended from the 2001 team for the playoffs for multiple unexcused absences from practices and meetings. The club also withheld a bonus payment because of off-field issues that included an arrest over an incident with the mother of his 5-year-old son. The woman recanted the charges.
“I was pretty close with Terry,” said Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who was in his first year as an assistant with the team when Glenn was a rookie. “I think he was, deep down inside a good person with good intentions and a good heart.”
Glenn came to the Cowboys when Parcells was hired in 2003 and had a career-high seven touchdowns along with 1,136 yards in 2005. In 2010, Glenn was arrested in Irving for auto theft in what his attorney said was a mix-up over a car rental. A year earlier, he was arrested at an Irving hotel on charges of public intoxication and marijuana possession.
“Terry was someone that we all enjoyed very much in his time with the Cowboys,” owner Jerry Jones said. “He was a gentle and kindhearted young man. Too young and too soon.”
Glenn spent his one year in Green Bay after leaving the Patriots following the tumultuous 2001 season.
“Terry was one of the most gifted receivers we have ever had,” New England owner Bob Kraft said. “For so many Patriots fans, his rookie season will be remembered as one of the most impactful in franchise history.”
Former Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe expressed his sorrow via social media .
“Loved this man. My son asked me a decade ago who my favorite receiver ever was because he wanted that jersey for Christmas. He got a Terry Glenn jersey from Santa,” Bledsoe wrote. “TG overcame horrible adversity to become a really good man. May your soul rest in peace my friend.”