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Former Patriots RB John Stephens dies in auto accident

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots are saddened to learn that former running back John Stevens died in a single-vehicle accident at the age of 43 near his home in Shreveport, Louisiana.

Stephens spent five seasons with the New England Patriots (1988-92) after joining the team as a first-round draft pick (17th overall) out of Northwestern Louisiana in 1988. He earned Pro Bowl honors and was named the NFL Rookie of the Year in 1988 after finishing second in the AFC and fifth in the NFL with 1,168 rushing yards.

Stephens is sixth on the Patriots all-time rushing list with 3,249 yards. He led team in rushing in three of his five seasons with New England.

Following his time with the Patriots, Stephens spent the 1993 season playing with Kansas City, Green Bay and Atlanta before retiring with 3,440 career yards and 18 touchdowns.

Stephens joined the Patriots following a prolific college career at Northwestern Louisiana. He broke the school rushing record set by Joe Delaney. Delaney was the 1981 AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year for Kansas City, making Northwestern Louisiana the only school to produce two running backs who went on to be Rookie of the Year winners.

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