Former three-time Pro Bowl TE Russ Francis was killed in a plane crash. He was 70 years old.
Francis played for the New England Patriots and was a member of San Francisco 49ers 1984 Super Bowl Championship team.
Francis had recently purchased the Lake Placid Airways scenic tour business. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Senior Vice President Richard McSpadden was also killed in the crash. The plane was identified as a Cessna 177 Cardinal.
Francis and former U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds commander Richard McSpadden rolled hard after taking off from the Lake Placid Airport in New York, causing them to fatally crash.
Francis’ brother released a statement following the accident. “My older brother Russ Francis was just killed in an airplane crash in Lake Placid, New York,” he said on Facebook.
“Flying was my brother’s lifelong passion, and perhaps a fitting way for him to go. God speed to you my big brother!!”
The New England Patriots selected Francis in the first-round of the 1975 draft. He was a three-time Pro Bowler with the team. Francis was traded to the defending Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers for a draft pick.
Francis played with the 49ers from 1982-1987. He was a member the 1984 Super Bowl championship team. He retired in 1989.
After being waived by the 49ers during the 1987 season, Francis signed with his old team, the Patriots, before the season’s final game.
Francis was a pick of the in the 1975 draftbefore joining the 49ers in 1982. He would go on to win a Super Bowl with San Fran during the 1984 season.
Francis would eventually return to the Patriots for the final two seasons of his career, before retiring after the 1988 campaign.
Former 49ers TE Russ Francis. Photo courtesy of George Rose/Getty Images