The Patriots family lost a beloved member from its founding years over the weekend.
On Sunday, the football world said goodbye to former Pro Bowl tight end Russ Francis, who starred in New England from 1975-1980 before spending the second half of his career with the San Francisco 49ers and ultimately returning to the Pats for his final seasons in 1987-1988.
In a statement from Robert Kraft, the Patriots chairman and CEO remembered the life of the franchise fan favorite:
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) October 2, 2023
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. Russ was a fan favorite throughout his playing career. 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.
Francis was a first-round draft pick out of Oregon and went on to be a three-time Pro Bowler, two-time All-Pro and a member of the Patriots all-decade and 35th Anniversary teams. He was also a key member to the 49ers Super Bowl team in 1984.
He was 70-years-old.