Russ Francis, a former NFL player, has been a beloved figure in the world of sports for many years even after he stopped competing professionally thanks to his charisma and enthusiasm. Russ, a fan favorite, was a crucial offensive component for both the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots during his illustrious football career.
Though his name is now not related to the football world, Russ has been on the front page of the newspapers due to an unexpected tragic news that has left a shockwave for the whole football community.
Super Bowl XIX champion Russ Francis dies at 70
At around 4:09 p.m. local time on Sunday, a horrible plane crash was reportedly witnessed at the Lake Placid Airport. One of the unfortunate two who died in the collision was Russ Francis.
According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, the tragic incident happened when the 70-year-old and Richard McSpadden took off in a Cessna 177 with a single engine from the Lake Placid Airport. After taking off from an airfield in upstate New York, an emergency occurred at the end of the runway, and the plane made an attempt to land there. However, it missed the runway and made an impromptu landing, which resulted in the catastrophe.
According to CBS, the New York State Police, Saranac Lake Volunteer Rescue Squad, and state Department of Environmental Conservation Forest rangers all rushed to the accident spot along with the Lake Placid Airport.
Francis was the president of Lake Placid Airways and a longtime aviation enthusiast. He had been a pilot for almost 50 years. McSpadden, his traveling companion, held a senior vice president position in the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Exploring Russ Francis’ Career Achievements
Russ Francis started his NFL career with Bill Belichick’s Patriots team, being selected as their first-round draft pick in 1975 and played in New England until 1980. During that period, the former Patriots tight end’s great playmaking abilities helped him to be named second-team All-Pro twice and received three Pro Bowl nods.
In 1982, he landed with the San Francisco 49ers to kick off a new stint with them and after just two years, he assisted the 49ers to win a Super Bowl in the 1984 season. However, in 1987 he again returned to the Patriots to call his NFL journey off with the franchise he started his career with.
After hearing the tragic news, the Patriots released a statement conveying their grief for Francis, his family, and friends.
“We are deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic loss of former New England Patriots tight end Russ Francis. Our condolences are extended to Francis’ family and friends.”
The 49ers also responded to the sudden death of their former player. Russ’ nearly a decade long football career saw him record 393 receptions for 5,262 yards and 40 touchdowns.
For his great contribution to the NFL, his memory will live on in the annals of league history.