Former NFL TE dead at 49


HAVERHILL, Mass. (AP) – Dan Ross, who set the record for most Super Bowl receptions with the Cincinnati Bengals in 1982, collapsed and died shortly after an evening jog. He was 49.

The former tight was stricken at his home in Atkinson, N.H., after returning from a jog Tuesday, according to a release posted by Northeastern sports information director Jack Grinold. Ross was taken to Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill, where he died.

Ross, who starred for the Huskies and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2004, was drafted 30th overall by Cincinnati in 1979 and spent parts of six seasons with the team.

His best season came in 1981, when he set career highs with 71 catches for 910 yards and five touchdowns while helping the Bengals to their first AFC championship.

Ross made a Super Bowl-record 11 catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns in the Bengals’ 26-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in 1982. Jerry Rice and Deion Branch have since tied the mark.

Ross had a total of 263 receptions for 3,204 yards and 16 TDs with the Bengals. He also played for the Seattle Seahawks and finished his career in 1986 with the Green Bay Packers.

Ross played in the USFL for the New Orleans/Portland Breakers from 1984-85. Bengals president Mike Brown said Wednesday that Ross was “a tremendous player,” and a big factor in making their first Super Bowl appearance.

“He and Kenny Anderson timed up so well in the passing game, and his catches that year were our team record for many years,” Brown said. “Beyond that, and more importantly, Dan was a special person. He was held in high regard by everyone around here. It is stunning news that he is gone so prematurely.”

Ross still holds the Northeastern record for receptions in a season with 68 and is second on the all-time list in career receptions and yards receiving.

Ross is survived by his wife, Joan, and two children Dan Jr., 22, and Jillian, 23.

AP-ES-05-17-06 1618EDT