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Patriots alumni comment on the passing of Darryl Stingley

Former Patriots players react to the news of the passing of former Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley.

Former Patriots Head Coach Chuck Fairbanks
"This is a very sad day for me to learn of Darryl's passing. I have such fond memories of him. The real tragedy of that accident was that Darryl had such a love and exuberance to play the game. He was just so full of vitality. That's the thing that I remember so much. This guy, he truly loved it. He was the first guy on the field and the last one to leave in practice. He was kind of a forerunner in offseason training, which is at a much greater level today than it was during my era. He just kept himself in the most perfect condition. [He was] such a physically gifted athlete and all of a sudden that was gone at such a young age. That was a terrible loss. I have great feelings for his family, who were caregivers for 30-odd years. What a tough thing that was for them, and yet they did a wonderful thing to give so much of themselves to help him through such a hard life after that accident."

On the play when Darryl Stingley was injured:
"I saw replays of that [play] many, many times, and many times Jack Tatum was criticized, but there wasn't anything at the time that was illegal about that play. I do think probably that play was a forerunner for some of the changes in rules that exist today that are more protective of receivers, especially if there is head-to-head-type contact. I think that probably pre-empted some of the things that happened today."

In closing:
"I have so many memories of Darryl and it's a sad day for me to learn of his passing."

John Hannah shares one of his fondest Darryl Stingley memories:

"I wanted to pass along a story. Darryl, Sam Cunningham, and I were drafted in 1973. I guess you could say we grew up together in the NFL. My fondest memory of Darryl was after we lost a key game - I believe in 1977. Darryl had a great singing voice which sounded just like Stevie Wonder. When we got back to Boston, everybody met at a restaurant in South Boston to eat and drown our frustrations. Darryl began to serenade the group and after a couple of songs people in the restaurant wanted "Stevie's" autograph."

Mike Haynes' reaction to the news of Darryl Stingley's death:
"As strange as it may seem, at the league meetings in Phoenix someone asked me about Darryl and how he was doing. I said that I hadn't heard. So, it was very strange to hear today that he passed away. He was a great teammate. Everybody loved him.

"As a teammate, you have these strange relationships where, even though you may not see the guys regularly after your playing career, you still remember them the same way as the last time that you saw them and the last time that you spent time with them. So, I still feel very close to Darryl, even though I haven't seen him in many years. I was shocked to hear of his passing away today.

Fondest memories of Darryl Stingley:
"He had a great smile. He was a character. He liked to make people laugh. He was a super sharp dresser and he was a lot of fun to be around … like a lot of guys were on the team during that time. He made me a better player because he talked to me when I first came into the league. He welcomed me to the team and helped me to develop as a corner in the National Football League."

Sam Cunningham's reactions to the news of Darryl Stingley's death:
"It's shocking. It's really hard to put in words how I feel."

"Having been around him and having spent some time with him, I know how hard he worked to survive every day. I have so much respect for him and for what he's done at this time in his life. He's a part of my family that isn't here any more."

"Without Darryl, without John [Hannah], I probably wouldn't have been able to do as well as I did as a Patriot or as a person."

On Darryl Stingley:
"We all came from different backgrounds. Darryl came from Chicago. John came from Alabama. I came from California. It was a weird mixture, but Coach Fairbanks believed in all of us and brought us together."

"I learned so much from Darryl just by being around him and listening to him. To now not have that chance to physically talk to him, it's kind of unsettling that I can't physically get in contact with him. He's a special individual that will never be forgotten in my life. All of my brothers knew Darryl too. They're probably feeling just as I am, because they personally know him and have spent time with him. This is a day that comes for everybody, but you don't want it to come."

Fondest memories of Darryl Stingley:
"I had a GMC 4-wheel drive truck and we used to go riding in the country out on the trails and hang out. Darryl being from Chicago, that wasn't really his thing, but we got stuck a couple of times and so I would ask for suggestions on how to get un-stuck and Darryl would look at me and say 'I don't know [anything] about riding in the country. I can't help you.' But we all learned and we all had good times just experiencing each others' lifestyles. We kind of grew up together. He just had such an appetite for knowledge and just experiencing [things.] Just like John [Hannah] said, he was a special individual."

"Without Darryl, I wouldn't be the same Sam Cunningham. I would like to think that he learned a few things from me too. He'll be missed very much."

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