Skip to main content
Advertising

Official website of the New England Patriots

replay
Replay: Patriots Unfiltered Wed May 29 - 04:00 PM | Thu May 30 - 09:55 AM

Russ Francis Remembered in Hawaii

The NFL tight end great was honored with a celebration of life ceremony in his beloved Hawaii.

Former Patriots tight end Russ Francis.
Former Patriots tight end Russ Francis.

Three-time Patriots Pro Bowler Russ Francis was remembered and honored at a celebration of his life in Honolulu, Hawaii over the weekend. Last October, the former Patriots and Raiders tight end tragically passed away in a plane crash near Lake Placid, New York.

Francis spent much of his youth growing up in Hawaii, which remained a special place for the rest of his life. Francis' son Riley said it was the perfect place to say "Aloha" for a final time. "Couldn't have picked a better place. Couldn't have picked a better time. Couldn't have picked better people. I'm just happy to be here, just like he was" he said.

The ceremony was also attended by some of his former teammates, including Dan Audick who played with Francis in San Francisco.

"He was a champion's champion. Which means for other champions, he was bigger and stronger and just the man to go to," said Audick, a former offensive lineman who lined up alongside Francis. "He always had the right thing to say and he was always greeting everybody."

Tight end Russ Francis (81).
Tight end Russ Francis (81).

The Patriots selected Francis in the first round of the 1975 draft and he went on to three Pro Bowls and two second-team All-Pro nods in six seasons. After a year off, Francis joined the San Francisco 49ers in 1982 and was part of their Super Bowl-winning squad two years later, securing five catches for 60 yards in Super Bowl 19.

Francis would return to New England at the end of his career, closing things out in 1988 with 11 catches in 12 games for the Patriots.

Bill Belichick took note of Francis during many of the epic matchups between the 49ers and Giants in the 80's.

"Russ was a pretty special player, really unique type of guy," said Belichick last October after Francis' passing. "He was really a prototype tight end, super athletic, good blocker, strong, good football player, really good football player... He had some special skills as a tight end, and he could block and he was tough. And, he was tall. He was a big target. You couldn't overthrow that guy. He had a huge catch radius, good hands. Yeah, he was tough. Sad day."

Related Content

Advertising

Latest News

Presented by
Advertising

Trending Video

Advertising

In Case You Missed It

Presented by
Advertising