Boston sports fans are still wrestling with mourning the tragic passing of Tim Wakefield, and already they’ve been dealt another gut-punch.
The New England Patriots announced the passing of a longtime Patriot on Monday morning.
Patriots News: Russ Francis Passes Away
The Patriots made the announcement late Monday morning that former tight end Russ Francis has passed away at just 70 years old. Francis’ family announced that he died in a plane crash in Lake Placid, New York on Sunday.
Younger Patriots fans won’t remember Francis, but anyone who follow the team in the 1970s certainly will.
Francis was the Patriots’ first-round pick in the 1975 NFL Draft, and he was the starting tight end in the offense until he briefly retired after the 1980.
He then unretired (doing that before Rob Gronkowski made it cool for Patriots TEs) and played another seven NFL seasons. The last one of those was back in New England in 1988.
Francis made three straight Pro Bowls from 1976 to 1978. He played the position in a much different Era, so his 207 receptions, 3157 yards and 28 touchdowns in New England don’t come close to painting the full picture of how valuable he was for that offense.
Francis’ career accolades, in addition to those three Pro Bowls, include being named to the 1975 all-rookie team, earning two second-team All-Pro honors (1976, 1978) and winning Super Bowl XIX with the San Francisco 49ers.
The Boston sports world is apparently in for another week of heartache, and we can expect to see tributes pouring in from past teammates over the next few days.
Everyone on the Chowder and Champions team sends our condolences to Francis’ friends and family.