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Former Patriots DB Tom Hennessey passed away

Posted Jul 24, 2012

The Patriots are saddened to learn of the loss of former Boston Patriots defensive back Tom Hennessey, who passed away on Sunday, July 22. He was 70.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The Patriots are saddened to learn of the loss of former Boston Patriots defensive back Tom Hennessey, who passed away on Sunday, July 22. He was 70.

"Tommy was a great guy," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, who was classmates with Hennessey at Brookline High School. "He was a football star in high school and college and I can remember being so proud that he rose to the professional level, playing two seasons with the Patriots. As big of an impact as he made on the field, his greatest contributions came off the field. He was a great mentor to so many kids and really dedicated his life to helping others. We are proud that being a Patriot will forever be a part of Tommy’s legacy. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his many friends."

Born February 15, 1936 in Boston, Mass., Hennessey was an all-state football player at Brookline High School and went on to attend Holy Cross, where he was a standout halfback for the Crusaders. In 1963, Hennessey won the Holy Cross Crusader of the Year award—the most prestigious student-athlete award presented by the Holy Cross Varsity Club – for his achievements in football and track and field. Prior to his rookie season with the Patriots, Hennessey played in the Atlantic Coast Football League and was named the league’s top defensive back in 1964. Hennessey joined the Patriots in 1965 and played for two seasons (1965-1966), recording eight interceptions in 28 career games. Hennessey was named the Patriots Rookie of the Year in 1965.

Off the field, Hennessey served as a mentor and teacher in a variety of arenas: spending a year as a teacher and physical education instructor at the Jesuit College in Baghdad, teaching and coaching at Brighton (Mass.) High School and serving as an assistant to the Dean of Men at Holy Cross.