Patriots legend Gino Cappelletti passes away

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A Patriots legend on the field and in the broadcast booth, Gino Cappelletti passed away at the age of 89 Thursday, according to the team.

Cappelletti, a native of Keewatin, Minnesota, had many distinctions in his playing career. After playing quarterback and placekicker at the University of Minnesota, he was not selected in the NFL Draft and took to playing in the little known Ontario Rugby Football Union. After a few year in Canada, and a two year stint in the US Army, Cappaletti found his way into professional football in the states with the launch of the American Football League in 1960, hooking on with the Boston Patriots. He played with the Patriots for 11 seasons, from 1960 through the NFL merger in 1970, calling it a career on the field in 1971. During his stint with the Pats he played wide receiver, kick returner, placekicker, defensive back and even threw a touchdown. He retired as the AFL’s all-time leading scorer, took league MVP honors in 1964, and to date in Patriots history is fifth in receiving touchdowns, has the most field goal attempts and most points scored in a game (a whopping 28 back in 1965!) These accomplishments got him inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1992 alongside John Hannah and Nick Buoniconti.

After his playing days, Cappelletti had a tremendous broadcasting career, cherished regionally for his decades of color commentary alongside the late, great Gil Santos in the radio booth. together they called hundreds of games and six Super Bowls. to many the pure joy in his voice as the Patriots won their first Super Bowl back in 2002 many remember immediately comes to mind when hearing his name.

In a statement released by the team, Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft offered the highest praise and heartfelt condolences. “My heart aches after learning of Cappelletti's passing this morning. For the first 51 years of this franchise's history, Gino contributed as an all-star player, assistant coach and broadcaster. You couldn't be a Patriots fan during that era and not be a fan of Gino's. The Patriots have had many iconic, fan-favorite players over the years. Gino was the first. I remember watching him play in 1960 and throughout his career. He was one of the AFL's biggest stars, becoming the first Patriots player to earn league MVP honors and retiring as the league's all-time leading scorer. He became the second player in franchise history to earn Patriots Hall of Fame induction and I will always believe he deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. As great of a player as he was, he was an even better person and storyteller.”

Cappelletti is survived by his wife, three daughters and 10 grandchildren, and leaves a lasting, indelible legacy no Patriots fan will soon forget.