Darryl Stingley, RIP

Darryl Stingley died today.

Stingley is best known for having been made a quadriplegic by Jack Tatum in an NFL pre-season game in 1978. But to New England Patriots fans, Darryl is better remembered as a fabulous wide receiver who might have been one of the best players of all time at his position. And for being a remarkable man.

Drafted with Hall of Famer Darryl Hannah and Sam Cunningham in 1973, Stingley was part of a turnaround draft whose rookies joined a 2-12 team and took it to the playoffs three years later. The next year his playing career was ended, but his reputation as a remarkable person was just beginning. Through his continued association with the Patriots and the NFL, he worked for greater safety in football and with at risk kids.

Any serious injury of star football player is a tragedy, but the case of Stingley was made more horrible because it came at the hand of Jack Tatum, the Oakland Raiders defensive player who was known for aggressive and violent tactics on the field. Jack Tatum never apologized or showed any remorse for the hit he dealt on Stingley. More remarkably, Darryl Stingley never demanded any.

In public appearances in later years. Darryl Stingley always appeared positive and upbeat. But I will remember him as a player with remarkable speed and agility who helped bring winning football to the Patriots. The kids of 1970's New England will always be thankful.

Darryl Stingley, Rest In Peace