Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick
"This is a terrible shock. Just three days ago, Will and I talked about the playoffs and he was his typical self - excited about the upcoming games, going through the matchups and, as usual, working angles that nobody else had thought of. That was Will - passionate about the game, extremely knowledgeable about the game but always looking for something new to add to his wealth of information and deliver it to the public - a true icon.
"I have many remembrances of Will, including playing golf on Nantucket, but my most vivid memory dates back to 1995, when Will broke the news of the Browns moving to Baltimore. That was one of the biggest stories in NFL history, and Will was writing about it months before anyone had a clue.
"I have known Will and his family for many years, working with Terry while in Cleveland and Sean here in New England. My most heartfelt sympathies are with them, Denise and the entire McDonough family."
Patriots LB Ted Johnson
"Basically, it was a privilege to know Will and I always enjoyed talking with Will just because he was always a very engaging person, very knowledgeable of the game, always gave you good insight and wisdom to a different side of the game that maybe you never thought of before. And for that, I always appreciated him.
"Most of my contact (with Will) came at charity events … He always brought smile to my face. He was just one of those guys I think that, probably at times, threw objectivity out the door because he just felt for the sports teams in this area. He liked to get to know players below the surface and that's what I've always respected about Will. He was always very genuine and that always came through in his reporting I felt."
Gino Cappelletti, WR/K from 1960-70 and member of the Patriots Hall of Fame
"He was really one of a kind, whatever he did and however he did it, it belonged to only him. He was the kind of guy that always left you hungry. If he was talking to you, you wanted to hear more from him in conversation. If it was his columns, you were almost disappointed when you got to the end of the column because you wanted more. He was so knowledgeable and had a great feel of Boston sports and everything that goes with it. He was a tough guy, he was a very tough guy mentally and physically. He backed down from nothing and he was a guy to admire. Whether he was a columnist or a reporter he was as good they come in that field. He was so good at it because of his investigation of things and his knowledge and all the contacts he had and people who he had known and he had met all responded to him. He wore his heart on his sleeve, no question about it. What you saw is what you got.
"In the early '60s when Will was just assigned to the Patriots as one of the beat guys for the Boston Globe he used to come over to East Boston and then after practice we would all go over to Sablone's and eat and we'd bring him along. We'd take care of him, feed him and pick up his lunch. We brought him along because he had a certain thing about him that we all kind of responded to and we liked him a lot right from the get go."
Andre Tippett, Patriots LB from 1982-93 and member of the Patriots Hall of Fame
"It wasn't until after I retired that I realized how powerful and influential he was, sort of like the Godfather of the newspapers. Will was always well informed, he had a lot of friends around the league and he was very close to a lot of coaches. Will knew about the business. He was in it for a long time and his son, Sean, kind of followed in his footsteps, doing television and different things like that. His other son, Terry, has been a scout for the Ravens. I sort of know the whole family. I've actually had the good fortune of sitting and watching a couple of football games with him over the years and it was astounding the knowledge of the game he had. He really knew the game of football. I am sure he was very knowledgeable on other sports, but watching him watch a game of football and analyzing was intriguing and it was fun. I've been in both places with Will, the football arena and also the fun part of what we do in this business, the celebrity side of it. I played in couple of golf matches with him. We actually won a couple of tournaments a couple of years ago. I would see Will every time at a lot of the local celebrity events and he was always very pleasant to me.
"He's a guy who will surely be missed. He was a guy that if you ask him his opinion, he will tell you the truth. He never pulled punches. The many times I've asked him questions or read his articles in the Globe, he always told the truth. You may not like what you hear, but he was always enjoyable to listen to.
"My heartfelt regrets go out to his family."
Pete Brock, Patriots C from 1976-87
"Where do you start with memories of Will … My earliest and first impressions of him were his fairness and the way he treated me individually. Now, there were obviously things that he would write, but there was always an integrity and honesty about it. It was almost like, if Will wrote it, it must be true.
"I know that there were a lot of players that felt the same about him. The other thing that impressed me was I never saw Will write a note. He would sit and talk with you and a lot of reporters would come up with a tape recorder and note pad and would write everything down or have it on a recorder. Will never did that and the next day when you picked up the paper he'd have lines of quotes and I can tell you individually, he never misquoted me.
"I loved hearing Will McDonough's stories. He could say things off the cuff that he would remember very vividly on things that happened 20 years ago."
Steve Grogan, Patriots QB from 1975-90 and member of the Patriots Hall of Fame
"I would describe Will as a guy where sometimes you wouldn't like what he wrote about you or said about you, but you always read and listened to what he had to say because he was so knowledgeable. As a player, I wasn't very close with him as most players aren't with writers, but after I left the game, I got to know him better and we had developed a pretty good relationship."