FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots were deeply saddened to learn of the death of former defensive tackle Richard Bishop earlier this week. Bishop, who played with the Patriots from 1976 through the 1981 season, passed away late Monday night (9/26) at the age of 66 in Miami, Fla.
Bishop started 51 of the 85 games played during his six seasons with the Patriots after joining the organization as a free agent in 1976. He appeared in every game for the Patriots in 1976 and 12 games of the 14 games in the 1977 season. He earned a starting role at defensive end in 1978, starting 15 of 16 games for the eventual AFC East division champions. That season, he led the team in quarterback pressures (27), finished second in sacks (7) and third in tackles (75). His 1978 performance earned him the Jim Lee Hunt Memorial Award as the team's most outstanding lineman.
Bishop originally entered the NFL when he was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the fifth round of the 1974 draft out of Louisville. He spent two seasons in the Canadian Football League with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Ottawa Rough Riders before signing with the Patriots as a free agent in 1976.
Bishop is survived by his son, Bryce, and his three daughters, Renata, Beatrice and Rachelle. Memorial services are tentatively scheduled for Saturday, October 8 in Miami, Fla. Services are being coordinated by the Stanfill Funeral Home in Miami. Details are expected to be finalized early next week. For service times and obituary information, please visit the Stanfill Funeral Home webpage at http://www.stanfillfh.com/obituaries/.