FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Russ Francis, a three-time Pro Bowl tight end for the New England Patriots in the 1970s, passed away Sunday. He was 70.
Francis was one of two people killed in a plane crash in upstate New York, according to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.
Francis finished his career with 393 receptions for 5,262 yards and 40 touchdowns between his time with the Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers. His 28 touchdowns with the Patriots still rank 11th in franchise history.
The Patriots selected Francis in the first round of the 1975 draft. He was traded to San Francisco in 1982 and won a Super Bowl with the 49ers two years later. He returned to New England in 1987 and retired as a Patriot the following year.
“Russ was a fan favorite throughout his playing career,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft wrote. “He was a dynamic player on the field who had an even bigger personality off it. He knew no boundaries, pushed the limits, 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.”