David Patten, the former three-time NFL Super Bowl Champion with the New England Patriots, was pronounced dead on Thursday at the age of 47. Patten was killed in a horrific motorcycle crash outside Columbia, S.C.
According to South Carolina Highway Patrol Lance Corporal Nick Pye, Patten crossed the median and forced an accident between himself and two other cars. One of the passengers was also taken to the hospital with unknown injuries.
The bike crash remains under investigation by the highway patrol, as authorities try to figure out what happened to cause the former Patriots receiver to swerve across the median.
After over 12 years in NFL, David Patten was best known for his 2001-2004 tenure with the New England Patriots, where he helped the team to win three Super Bowl Championships. In the second quarter of the Super Bowl in 2001, Patten caught a touchdown pass from Tom Brady that would go on to become the team’s one offensive touchdown in their 20-17 win over the St. Louis Rams.
“It breaks my heart to hear of David’s tragic passing at such a young age,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in an official statement. “I am grateful to have coached David. He is an essential person and player in Patriots history, without whom we would not have been Super Bowl champions.”
“As much as anyone, David epitomized the unheralded, self-made player who defied enormous odds to not only earn a job in the NFL but to become a key player on multiple championship teams,” said Belichick. “I can speak for anyone who had the pleasure to be around David that his work ethic, positive energy and character were elite. My deepest condolences are with his family and loved ones.”
Retiring in 2010, David said at the time that his time with the Patriots was the clear highlight of his career. Returning to Western Carolina University, David finished a degree in social work and then later become a minister and motivational speaker. He founded his own ministry in Andrews, S.C., where he would preach on Sundays.
“I am heartbroken by the news of David’s passing,” New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. “He was a devout Christian who followed his passion following his football career and founded his own ministry. David transitioned from an undersized and understated wide receiver to a powerful and passionate preacher.”
“In New England, he will always be remembered as a three-time Super Bowl Champion,” Kraft continued. “Our sincerest sympathies are with his wife, Galiena, his family and all who are mourning David’s tragic and untimely death.”
Sam Gordon, who managed David Patten in his firm, told ESPN that his wife and family were “all very heartbroken.”
David would go on to play for New Orleans Saints, the Washington Redskins, and the New York Giants, before returning to the Patriots. “That was the first organization that believed in me,” he said at the time. Over the course of his lengthy career, Patten finished with 24 touchdowns and 324 receptions for 4,715 yards.
“Great Player, but Most of All A Great Man, Mentor and Brother,” teammate Richard Seymour wrote on Twitter.
“Shocked and saddened about the sudden tragic death of David Patten,” said former New England offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. “Excellent player, even better person. Family guy, team guy, devout Christian. Prayers all directed this way. RIP David. You will be sorely missed.”