Clayton Weishuhn, Patriots single-season tackles leader, dies at 62

Clayton Weishuhn, former linebacker for the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers, died in a car crash on Friday. He was 62.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety, Weishuhn was driving his pickup truck on a local road Friday night when "for unknown reasons" his truck drifted into a ditch on one side of the road. He then "over-corrected skidding across the roadway into the west ditch, and into a dirt field.” The vehicle then rolled over multiple times. Weishuhn, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the truck and pronounced dead at the scene.

Weishuhn, who grew up on a cotton farm in San Angelo, Texas, attended Angelo State University, where he was named Lone Star Conference Lineman of the Year in 1980 and 1981. The Patriots took him in the third round of the 1982 NFL draft, and he spent five seasons with New England.

Most of those five seasons were plagued with injuries. He severely injured his knee in the first game of the 1984 season, which cost him the rest of the 1984 season and the entire 1985 season. He was able to return in 1986, but injured his hamstring and his groin after only four games. Weishuhn wouldn't play for the Pats again, signing with Green Bay in 1987. He played in nine games that season, which was the last of his career.

While he fought injuries for most of his time in the NFL, Weishuhn remains in the Patriots record books to this day for his stellar 1983 season. It was the only season he was able to start all 16 games, and he set the Patriots single-season tackles record with 229.

Weishuhn is survived by his wife of over 40 years, Diana, three daughters, and 10 grandchildren. In his obituary, his family sent him this message:

Clayton, Daddy, Papa, we love you! Thank you for being an incredible husband, father, Papa, son, brother, and friend to all of us. Clayton, you planted more seeds of kindness in others’ lives than you ever planted in the ground!

Los Angeles Rams halfback Eric Dickerson confronts New England Patriots linebacker Clayton Weishuhn in the first quarter at Anaheim Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 11, 1983 for an eight yard gain. Dickerson, with 94 yards in 27 carries, became the top ground-gaining first-year player in the NFL?s history by topping the 1,674 yards picked up by New Orleans George Rogers in 1981. (AP Photo/Doug Pizac)
Former Patriots linebacker Clayton Weishuhn, seen here in his record-setting 1983 season confronting Rams halfback Eric Dickerson, died on Friday at 62. (AP Photo/Doug Pizac)