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Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti Has Died

Former Patriots wide receiver and kicker Gino “The Duke” Cappelletti died Thursday morning, the team announced.

“My heart aches after learning of Gino Cappelletti’s passing this morning,” Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said. “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.”

After playing college football at the University of Minnesota, Cappelletti began his professional career playing in Canada for three seasons. In 1960, the Boston Patriots signed him as part of its inaugural team when the American Football League began that season.

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Cappelletti spent 11 years with the Patriots as the team’s primary placekicker and one of their wide receivers. He led the league in field goal attempts and field goals made three times, and he recorded at least 30 catches in seven straight seasons.

Cappelletti made five pro bowls as a kicker and was named the AFL’s MVP in 1964. He played in every one of the teams AFL games for the 10 years before the NFL ultimately absorbed the league. He is a member of the Patriots Hall of Fame and stands third in team history in points scored, 10th in receptions and 12th in receiving yards.

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