1. Former New England Patriots tight end Russ Francis passes away at age 70 on October 1.

Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft expresses condolences and praises Francis' impact on and off the field.

Francis played 13 NFL seasons, split between the Patriots (1975-80, 1987-88) and the San Francisco 49ers (1982-87).

Notable achievements include two All-Pro selections, three Pro Bowl appearances, and being part of Patriots' all-decade team.

Francis retired with impressive career stats: 393 receptions, 5,262 yards, and 40 touchdowns.

 He ranked among the top tight ends in NFL history at the time of his retirement in multiple categories.

Traded to the 49ers in 1982, Francis was crucial in their 1984 Super Bowl victory over Miami.

He returned to the Patriots in 1987, ultimately retiring with the team in 1988.

His Patriots career still holds significant rankings in franchise history, showcasing his lasting impact.

Francis' legacy as a dynamic player and vibrant personality endures, leaving a lasting mark on the Patriots and the NFL.