FOXBORO, Mass. - Quarterback Hugh Millen, a former starter for the University of Washington, reportedly has agreed to a two-year, $3 million NFL contract with New England, the highest yearly base salary ever for the Patriots.
Millen would have a base of $1.1 million each season, with the rest coming in incentives. In the second year, Millen could get $1.8 million with incentives - less if the team fails to win at least half its games, The Boston Globe reported today.
Talks involving Millen; his agent, Marvin Demoff, and team executives Charley Armey and Bucko Kilroy were to continue today to resolve a conflict over the payment plan for bonus salaries.
Millen, 28, joined the Patriots last year as a Plan B free agent from Atlanta on a one-year deal worth $575,000. He became the starting quarterback in the fourth game and led the Patriots to five victories in their final 13 games.
The former Roosevelt High School of Seattle athlete said more playing time has made the difference for him. "It's pretty germane to the profession that you need to have a chance to play to be successful, and you have to go find that place to play," he said after joining the Patriots.
After landing on Atlanta's Plan B list, Millen talked with nine teams, then narrowed his choices to New England, Cleveland and the Los Angeles Raiders. "Cleveland offered me more money, but New England offered me the chance to play," he said.
Millen took over from a struggling Tommy Hodson and got past an embarrassing 9-6 loss at home against Denver in which he was tackled at the Broncos' 6-yard line on a last-play dash for the end zone. The final play began with 14 seconds left, at the Denver 15 - well within field-goal range. He tried for a touchdown.
With Millen calling signals, the Patriots scored some surprising victories, too, and improved their record from 1-15 in 1990 to 6-10 in '91.
Millen came off the bench to lead Washington's Huskies to their 1985 Orange Bowl victory over Oklahoma and was a third-round draft choice of the Los Angeles Rams in 1986.
He spent the entire '86 season on injured reserve with a fractured ankle, then missed 15 games in '87 with a back injury. Waived by the Rams, he was picked up by Atlanta and played three games for the Falcons the next season.
Millen had two different stints with the Falcons and once got a quick look from Dallas before landing in New England.
Victories over Houston and Buffalo were highlights for Millen and the 1991 Patriots under their new head coach, Dick MacPherson; but the quarterback might remember longer a Dec. 8 game against the Indianapolis Colts.
After Millen threw the game-winning touchdown pass to beat Indianapolis in overtime, he was wrestled to the turf by a jubilant MacPherson.