Former San Francisco 49ers tight end and Super Bowl XIX champion Russ Francis tragically passed away on Sunday, October 1, 2023, at the age of 70.
Originally drafted in the first round (16th overall) of the 1975 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, Francis played 13 seasons in the NFL, including parts of six of which were spent with the 49ers (1982-87), and totaled 393 receptions for 5,262 yards and 40 touchdowns in his career. Prior to being traded to the 49ers ahead the 1982 season, he was a two-time All-Pro (1976, 1978) and a three-time Pro Bowl player (1977-79) with the Patriots. As a member of the 49ers, Francis recorded 186 receptions for 2,105 yards and 12 touchdowns and was a key member of the 1984 49ers team that won a franchise-record 15 regular season games and defeated the Miami Dolphins, 38-16, in Super Bowl XIX.
Born Russell Ross Francis in Seattle, WA, he attended the University of Oregon where he played two seasons (1972-73) and recorded 39 receptions for 588 yards and four touchdowns. He returned to the Patriots for his final NFL season (1988) after being released by the 49ers eight games into the 1987 season.