Former Patriots tight finish Russ Francis died in a aircraft crash Sunday in Lake Placid, New York, the staff introduced Monday.
Francis, 70, performed 13 NFL seasons, together with two stints in New England from 1975-80 and 1987-88. Francis made two All-Pro groups and three Pro Bowls throughout his profession. The Patriots drafted him within the first spherical of the 1975 NFL Draft out of Oregon.
In 1982, the Pats traded Francis and a second-round decide to San Francisco in trade for 4 picks, together with one which grew to become Pro Football Hall of Fame exterior linebacker Andre Tippett. Francis gained a Super Bowl with the 49ers earlier than returning to New England to complete his profession.
In 2009, the Patriots Hall of Fame committee named Francis to the franchise’s Seventies All-Decade staff. He was additionally a member of the Patriots’ thirty fifth Anniversary Team.
Owner Robert Kraft launched a press release on Francis’ passing Monday morning.
“On behalf of the entire New England Patriots organization, we extend our sincerest sympathies to the family of Russ Francis, who tragically passed away yesterday,” Kraft’s assertion learn. “Russ was a fan favourite all through his enjoying profession. He was a dynamic participant on the sector who had a good greater character off it. He knew no boundaries, pushed the bounds and lived his life to the fullest.
“Our thoughts are with Russ’s family, friends, teammates and the many Patriots fans who mourn his loss.”
Over his profession, Francis totaled 393 receptions for five,262 yards and 40 touchdowns. His 28 landing catches rank eleventh in franchise historical past.
Francis’ youthful brother, Ed, introduced his passing in a Facebook put up Sunday night. It was not instantly clear whether or not Francis piloted or was a passenger on the aircraft that killed him.
“My older brother Russ Francis was just killed in an airplane crash in Lake Placid, New York,” Ed wrote. “Flying was my brother’s lifelong passion, and perhaps a fitting way for him to go. God speed to you my big brother!!”