Former Boston Patriots wide receiver and kicker Gino Cappelletti dies
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Gino Cappelletti, former AFL Most Valuable Player and original Boston Patriots member who was with the franchise for five decades as a player, coach and broadcaster, has died. He was 89 years old.
Cappelletti died Thursday at his home in Wellesley, Massachusetts. His death was announced Thursday by the New England Patriots. No cause of death was given.
“I am heartbroken after learning of the death of Gino Cappelletti this morning. For the first 51 years of this franchise’s history, Gino contributed as a star player, assistant coach and broadcaster. You couldn’t be a Patriots fan in those days and not be a Gino fan,” New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. “As a great player as he was, he was an even better person and storyteller.”
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Known as “The Duke”, Cappelletti played receiver and kicker and scored the first regular season points in AFL history, a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter of the 13- 10 of the Patriots against the Denver Broncos on September 9. , 1960.
He became the league’s Most Valuable Player in 1964 and was one of only three players to play in every game in the AFL’s 10-year history, along with Jim Otto and George Blanda.
Cappelletti spent his entire career in Boston from 1960 to 1970, finishing it as the AFL’s all-time leader in points (1,100) and field goals (170). He was honored as the second Patriots player inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 1992, joining goaltender John Hannah.
After his playing days, Cappelletti spent seven seasons in the radio booth (1972-78) before joining Patriots coaching staff Ron Erhardt in 1979, serving as the team’s special teams coach until 1981. Returned to broadcasting for the Patriots in 1988 as a radio analyst. and remained in that job through the 2011 season.
He is survived by his wife, Sandy, his daughters Gina, Cara and Christina, and 10 grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are pending.