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Patriots confirm death of linebacker Ray Costict

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FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots are deeply saddened to learn about the loss of inside linebacker Ray Charles Costict. Costict who spent his entire three-year NFL career with the Patriots died on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012 in Orlando, Florida. He was 56 years old.

The Patriots special teams standout was born on March 19, 1955.  A native of Moss Point, Mississippi, Costict stayed local and attended Mississippi State (1973-1976) where he excelled on the football field as a fullback and linebacker. After playing his freshman year as a fullback, the Bulldogs' coaching staff elected to switch Costict to the defensive side of the ball despite averaging 4.8 yards per carry. Costict thrived in the new position and amassed 467 tackles over three years, a number that ranks first all-time in Mississippi State history. As a senior ('76), Costict received numerous accolades including being selected as Southeastern Conference (SEC) Defensive Player of the Year, 1st Team All-SEC, and AP 2nd Team All-American.  He was also named 1st Team All-Sec as a junior ('75).

The 6'0", 217 pound prospect was drafted by the Patriots with the 24th pick in the 11th round (303 overall) of the 1977 NFL Draft.  Despite being drafted late, Costict was able to find a niche on the Patriots special teams unit as a 22-year-old rookie during the 1977 season. The following season, Costict earned four starts and recorded 50.5 tackles. In 1979, his final season of his NFL career, Costict tallied 50 tackles; the most on the team for any non-starter, in a reserve role behind Rod Shoate and also recorded an interception against the Jets (Sept. 9).  His play alongside linebacker Sam "Big Backer" Hunt and stature earned him the nickname "Little Backer."

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