former Patriot Wide receiver and kicker Gino “The Duke” Cappelletti died Thursday morning, the team announced.
“It breaks my heart after learning of Gino Cappelletti’s death this morning,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “In the first 51 years of the franchise’s history, Gino has contributed as an all-star player, assistant coach and broadcaster. You can’t be a Patriots fan at the time and not a Gino fan. The Patriots have had many iconic, fan favorite players for many years. Gino was first. I remember watching him play in the 1960s and his entire career. He was one of the biggest stars in the AFL, becoming the first Patriots player to earn league MVP honors and retired as the league’s all-time leading scorer.
After playing college football at the University of Minnesota, Cappelletti began his professional career playing in Canada three seasons. In 1960, he was signed by the Boston Patriots as part of its inaugural team when the American Football League began at the time.
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Cappelletti spent 11 years with the Patriots as the team’s top placekicker and one of their wide receivers. He has led the league in field goal attempts and has scored a field goal three times, and he has recorded at least 30 shots in seven consecutive seasons.
Cappelletti made five pro bowls as a kicker and was named AFL’s MVP in 1964. He played in each of the team’s AFL games for 10 years before the NFL finally absorbed the league. He is a member of the Patriots Hall of Fame and third in team history in points scored, 10th in parties and 12th in reception yards.
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