Obit Cappelletti Football

Gino Cappelletti, left, shakes hands with Joe Kapp on Oct. 2, 1970, before Boston Patriots workout session. Gino Cappelletti, a former AFL Most Valuable Player and original member of the Boston Patriots who was part of the franchise for five decades as a player, coach and broadcaster, has died. He was 89. A.E. Maloof/Associated Press

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Gino Cappelletti, a former AFL Most Valuable Player and original member of the Boston Patriots who was part of the franchise for five decades as a player, coach and broadcaster, has died. He was 89.

Cappelletti died Thursday at his home in Wellesley, Massachusetts. His death was announced by the New England Patriots on Thursday. No cause of death was given.

Obit Cappelletti Football

Gino Cappelletti is shown outside the Patriots Hall of Fame in Foxborough, Mass. on Aug. 5, 2015. Charles Krupa/Associated Press

“My heart aches after learning of Gino Cappelletti’s passing this morning. 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,” New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement. “As great of a player as he was, he was an even better person and storyteller.”

Known as “The Duke,” Cappelletti played receiver and kicker and scored the first regular-season points in AFL history, a 35-yard field goal in the first quarter of the Patriots’ 13-10 loss to the Denver Broncos on Sept. 9, 1960. He went on to be the league’s MVP in 1964 and was one of three players to play in every game in the AFL’s 10-year history, along with Jim Otto and George Blanda.

Cappelletti spent his entire career in Boston from 1960-70, ending it as the AFL’s all-time leader in points (1,100) and field goals (170). He was honored as the second Patriots player inducted into the team’s hall of fame in 1992, joining guard John Hannah.

Following his playing days Cappelletti spent seven seasons in the radio booth (1972-78) before joining Patriots coach Ron Erhardt’s staff in 1979, serving as the team’s special teams coach until 1981. He returned to broadcasting for the Patriots in 1988 as a radio analyst and remained in that job through the 2011 season.

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He is survived by his wife, Sandy, daughters Gina, Cara and Christina, and 10 grandchildren.

JARRETT STIDHAM, the Patriots  backup quarterback, was traded along with a a seventh-round pick to the Las Vegas Raiders for a sixth-round pick Thursday, according to reports.

Stidham is in the final year of his contract after being selected in the fourth round of the 2019 draft out of Auburn. He never ascended to being more than a backup in New England, despite competing for the starting job in the summer of 2020 with Cam Newton. After recovering from back surgery in August, he did not appear in a game last season.

Over eight career games, Stidham has completed 24 of 48 passes for 270 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions. He played in three games as a rookie, all coming off the bench, then five more in 2020, each as a reserve. In Las Vegas, Stidham will reunite with former Pats offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, the Raiders’ first-year head coach, and former New England executive Dave Ziegler, their new GM. Meanwhile, the Pats create almost $1 million in cap room by offloading Stidham.

Stidham’s exit was seen as only a matter of time once the Patriots drafted Western Kentucky quarterback Bailey Zappe in the fourth round of this year’s draft. Zappe joined backup Brian Hoyer, who recently re-signed on a 2-year deal, and starter Mac Jones in the team’s quarterbacks room.

THE PATRIOTS 2022 schedule, released Thursday, features games that will pack surprises, other playoff stakes.
A year ago, many believed the Patriots’ 2-4 start with a rookie quarterback spelled doom for their postseason hopes. Instead, they ripped off a seven-game win streak that inspired talk of returning to the Super Bowl. Then the Pats limped into the postseason and got blown out in Buffalo.
A new season, however, renews hope. Here are a few highlights

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Week 1: at Miami, 1 p.m., Sept. 11 (CBS): The Patriots are opening against Miami for the third straight season. This year, there’s a twist: they kick off in South Florida. How the Pats handle the heat, not to mention the new offense installed by first-year Dolphins Coach Mike McDaniel, should determine whether they start 1-0 or 0-1. Look for new Miami wide receiver Tyreek Hill to play a pivotal part.

Week 4: at Green Bay, 4:25 p.m., Oct. 2 (CBS): Bill Belichick vs. Aaron Rodgers. Need we say more?

Week 8: at New York Jets, 1 p.m., Oct. 30 (CBS): It’s been a long time since the Patriots were scared down in the Meadowlands, but this might be the year, kicking off a day before Halloween. This offseason, the Jets fortified virtually every position on the offense around second-year quarterback Zach Wilson, who boasts some of the best arm talent in the league. Defensively, New York also boosted its sad sack secondary, drafting cornerback Sauce Gardner fourth overall.

Week 12: at Minnesota, 8:20 p.m., Nov. 24 (NBC): The Patriots will play on Thanksgiving for the first time in 10 years and kick off inside U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time since losing Super Bowl LII to the Eagles. A fun twist? New Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell was a Patriots third-round pick in 2008.

Week 13: Buffalo, 8:15p.m., Dec. 1 (Prime): Another Thursday night game brings Josh Allen and Co. to Gillette Stadium, where they didn’t punt once last season in a de facto AFC East championship game. Like the Patriots, Buffalo will be coming off a Thanksgiving kickoff the week before.
The only thing higher than the anticipation for this game could be the division stakes.

Week 15: at Las Vegas, 8:20 p.m., Dec. 18 (NBC): A reunion with New England’s longtime offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels – now the head coach in Las Vegas – in prime-time makes this as juicy a matchup as there is on the schedule. How will McDaniels attack Jones, his former pupil? What will Belichick cook up to confuse Derek Carr, McDaniels’ new quarterback? And could one team knock the other out of the postseason race?


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