Former 49ers tight end Russ Francis on Sunday died at age 70. He was killed in a small plane crash in Lake Placid, New York.
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association said via the Lake Placid news that the plane “experienced an emergency after takeoff.” Francis and the AOPA’s senior vice president Richard McSpadden were both killed in the crash.
Francis took to flying following a stellar NFL career that spanned 14 seasons. He spent six years with the Patriots after the team picked him No. 16 overall in the 1975 draft. He retired for one season, then returned to spend five-plus years with the 49ers before finishing his career with a year-plus with the Patriots.
Francis was a three-time Pro Bowler for the Patriots and won a Super Bowl with the 49ers. He posted 186 catches, 1,205 yards and 12 touchdowns in 75 regular season games for San Francisco. In the playoffs he put up 277 yards and one touchdown on 23 receptions in seven games.
In his career Francis had 393 catches for 5,262 yards and 40 touchdowns in 167 games.