David Patten, who helped the New England Patriots clinch three Super Bowls between 2001 and 2004, died in a motorcycle crash on Thursday. He was 47 years old.
The South Carolina Highway Patrol say Patten’s motorcycle crossed the center line into opposing traffic and struck another vehicle just outside Columbia, South Carolina.
“I am heartbroken by the news of David’s passing,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft.
“He was a devout Christian who followed his passion following his football career and founded his own ministry. David transitioned from an undersized and understated wide receiver to a powerful and passionate preacher. In New England, he will always be remembered as a three-time Super Bowl Champion.”
Patten played for five different NFL teams in his 12-year career, finding his greatest success as a member of the Patriots.
Patten holds the distinction of catching Tom Brady’s first career Super Bowl touchdown pass in 2002. Patten’s twisting catch for an 8-yard score was the only offensive touchdown for the Patriots in their 20-17 win over the St. Louis Rams.
Patten was with the Patriots for two more Super Bowl wins over the next three years.
Patten was a standout wide receiver at Western Carolina University where he played from 1992-1995 and was all-Southern Conference as a senior.
He went undrafted in 1996, and spent a year playing arena football before getting his shot in the NFL with the New York Giants in 1997. He also played for the Cleveland Browns, Washington Football Team and the New Orleans Saints.
Patten scored 24 touchdowns in his NFL career, 16 of which came with the Patriots.