Patriots, Pro Football Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti passes away at age 78

Sam Cohn
July 31, 2019 - 12:31 pm

Pro Football Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti died Tuesday at the age of 78 in Bridgehampton, New York, according to a statement released by his son Marc. A cause of death was not immediately known.

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Buoniconti spent 14 seasons in the NFL (1962-1976), seven with the New England Patriots and seven with the Miami Dolphins. At 5-foot-11 and 220 pounds, the eight-time Pro Bowler was considered small for his position.

Drafted in the 13th round, Buoniconti racked up 24 interceptions in 91 games for the AFL Boston Patriots and was a five-time Pro Bowler and four-time First Team All-Pro with the team. He later became the leader of Miami’s “No-Name Defense” and won Super Bowl titles in 1972 and 1973. 

Buoniconti’s son released a heartfelt statement after his father’s death, saying, "My dad has been my hero and represents what I have always aspired to be; a leader, a mentor and a champion.”

Following Buoniconti’s retirement, he worked as a broadcaster, an attorney, President of U.S. Tobacco, and a sports agent. Most importantly, after his son was paralyzed at 19, he worked tirelessly to raise money and attention towards curing paralysis. Buoniconti also previously said that he believed he was suffering form CTE and that he would donate his brain to CTE research when he died.

Marc Buoniconti added in his statement, “He selflessly gave all to football, to his family and to those who are less fortunate.”

Buoniconti was inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in 1992 and Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001.