Sad news hit the football world this past week when it was announced that Nick Buoniconti, a former NFL linebacker who played for both the Patriots and Miami Dolphins, had passed away at the age of 78 on July 30, 2019. The cause of death is unknown, but it was revealed years ago that Buoniconti had lost feeling in his left hand and was also enduring memory loss and signs of dementia. However, his death was confirmed to ESPN by his spokesman, Bruce Bobbins, and his son, Marc Buoniconti.
Marc also played football, but he was paralyzed at the age of 19. This ended up becoming the main focus of Buoniconti's life as he devoted himself to developing and raising money for the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis in the name of his son. Marc's statement is shared below:
“Today, with a heavy heart and profound sorrow, my family and the entire Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and Buoniconti Fund community mourn the loss of a man who was truly larger than life, my father, NFL Hall of Famer Nick Buoniconti."
Buoniconti had a legendary career that resulted in a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2001. Undersized at less than six feet tall, the Springfield, Massachusetts constantly defied the odds to even play football in the first place. A thirteenth round draft pick in the AFL out of Notre Dame, Buoniconti played for the then Boston Patriots from 1962 to 1968. He finished his career with the Miami Dolphins from 1969 to 1974 and then again in 1976, winning two Super Bowls along the way.
In addition to the titles, Buoniconti was named to the AFL All-Time team. He recorded 32 tackles over 183 games, which led to two Pro Bowl appearances, two Second Team All-Pro nods, and six AFL All-Star games. Buoniconti also belongs to the respective team Halls of Fame for the Patriots and the Dolphins.
He was a man who contributed so much both on and off the field and he will surely be missed.