FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer linebacker Nick Buoniconti, who passed away on Tuesday, July 30, at the age of 78.
A native of Springfield, Mass., Buoniconti had an outstanding collegiate career at Notre Dame as a guard and linebacker and was drafted by the Boston Patriots in the 13th round of the 1962 AFL Draft. He played linebacker for the Patriots from 1962 through 1968 before finishing his career with the Miami Dolphins. Buoniconti earned his law degree while a member of the Patriots and worked as a practicing attorney as well as an agent.
"Today is a sad day for Patriots and Dolphins fans alike, as we mourn the loss of the legendary Nick Buoniconti," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "He was a Hall of Fame player on the field, but more importantly, a hall of fame person off it. As an undersized, over-achieving linebacker, he quickly became a fan favorite in Boston, and he remains one of the most iconic homegrown players in franchise history. I had the pleasure of meeting Nick many times and spent time with him when we honored him both when he returned as a Patriots Hall of Famer and as a member of our 50th Anniversary team. He was a leader in every respect, and his work with the Miami Project is perhaps the greatest tribute to his legacy as a man who refused to give up and used his platform to advocate for others. On behalf of the Kraft family and the Patriots organization, we extend our sincerest condolences to the Buoniconti family, the Dolphins organization and all who mourn his loss."
He was elected to the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1992 and in 2001, he became the third Patriot to be named to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Buoniconti appeared in five consecutive AFL All-Star games during his Patriots career, and he was a key contributor to the Patriots first championship game appearance in the 1963 AFL Championship.
He was named to the All-AFL 10 Year Anniversary team in 1971 and was named to the Patriots 1960s All-Decade Team and 50th Anniversary Team in 2009.