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Former Patriots, 49ers TE Russ Francis dies in plane crash

Former NFL player Russ Francis died in a plane crash in upstate New York at the age of 70.

Russ Francis, a former NFL tight end and Super Bowl champion, tragically passed away in a plane crash on Sunday. The incident occurred at the Lake Placid Airport in upstate New York, where Francis had recently purchased a scenic tour business. He was a passenger in the plane, a Cessna 177 Cardinal, piloted by Richard McSpadden, who also lost his life in the crash. The plane experienced an emergency shortly after takeoff and was unable to return to the airport.

Francis had an impressive football career, starting with being selected as the 16th overall pick by the New England Patriots in the 1975 NFL Draft. He played for the Patriots from 1975 to 1980 and again from 1987 to 1988. He also played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1982 to 1987. Throughout his career, Francis scored 40 touchdowns in 167 games, with 148 starts. He was known for his dynamic playing style and larger-than-life personality off the field.

The New England Patriots organization expressed their condolences to Francis' family in a statement released by chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. They described Francis as a fan favorite and praised his exceptional skills and vibrant personality. He was a beloved figure among teammates and fans alike.

Francis was recognized as a two-time All-Pro, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, and a member of the Patriots all-decade team for the 1970s. He was also named to the Patriots 35th Anniversary Team. In Super Bowl XIX, he played a significant role in the 49ers' victory over the Miami Dolphins, catching five passes for 60 yards. Throughout his career, Francis accumulated 393 receptions for 5,262 yards.

The loss of Russ Francis is a devastating blow to the football community. He will be remembered for his remarkable talent, infectious personality, and contributions to the sport. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, teammates, and the countless Patriots fans who mourn his passing.

--Field Level Media

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