Patriots Owner Robert Kraft issued a statement through the team website. "This is a sad day for all who knew Darryl Stingley," said Kraft. "I had the pleasure of meeting Darryl on multiple occasions and was touched by his positive outlook on life. He was passionate about his faith and his family and always showed compassion for others. In my conversations with Darryl, he always spoke of the future, not the past. I don't think he ever held grudges and I know that he was uncomfortable accepting anyone's sympathy. He wanted to find ways to positively impact the lives of those around him and did so throughout his life. On behalf of my family and the entire New England Patriots organization, we offer our sincere condolences to the Stingley family."
Stingley was a first round draft pick by the Patriots in the 1973 NFL Draft (19th overall). He was injured in a preseason game against the Oakland Raiders on August 12, 1978. Stingley was hit hard by former Raider Jack Tatum, which resulted in Stingley suffering a devastating neck injury that left him paralyzed.
Services for Darryl Stingley will be held on Tuesday, April 10 at the The Living Word Christian Center located at 7600 West Roosevelt Road in Forest Park, Illinois (708-697-5000). There will be a wake at 10 a.m. followed by a funeral service at 11 a.m.
For those wishing to make donations in Darryl's memory, donations in memory of Darryl Stingley can be made to the National Spinal Cord Injury Association.
National Spinal Cord Injury Association
c/o Heymann, Suissa & Stone, PC
1 Church Street
Rockville, MD 20850
|New England Patriots wide receiver Darryl Stingley lies motionless on the field night of Aug.12, 1978 at Oakland Coliseum, after colliding with Raider Jack Tatum (AP Photo)|
A Chicago native, Stingley returned to the windy city and worked as a consultant for the Patriots for 12 years after the incident. He went on to write a personal memoirs book and was involved in youth charity work.
Stingley's former teammates/coach weighed in on his passing:
(Comments courtesy New England Patriots)
Former Patriots Head Coach Chuck Fairbanks:
(on Learning that Stingley passed)
"This is a very sad day for me to learn of Darryl's passing. I have such fond memories of him. The real tragedy of that accident was that Darryl had such a love and exuberance to play the game.
"I have so many memories of Darryl and it's a sad day for me to learn of his passing."
(On the play)
"I saw replays of that [play] many, many times, and many times Jack Tatum was criticized, but there wasn't anything at the time that was illegal about that play. I do think probably that play was a forerunner for some of the changes in rules that exist today that are more protective of receivers, especially if there is head-to-head-type contact. I think that probably pre-empted some of the things that happened today."
Former Patriots Lineman John Hannah:
(His fondest memory of Stingley)
"I wanted to pass along a story. Darryl, Sam Cunningham, and I were drafted in 1973. I guess you could say we grew up together in the NFL. My fondest memory of Darryl was after we lost a key game - I believe in 1977. Darryl had a great singing voice, which sounded just like Stevie Wonder. When we got back to Boston, everybody met at a restaurant in South Boston to eat and drown our frustrations. Darryl began to serenade the group and after a couple of songs people in the restaurant wanted "Stevie's" autograph."
Former Patriots Cornerback Mike Haynes:
(on his reaction to the news of Darryl Stingley's death)
"As strange as it may seem, at the league meetings in Phoenix someone asked me about Darryl and how he was doing. I said that I hadn't heard. So, it was very strange to hear today that he passed away. He was a great teammate. Everybody loved him.
(fondest memories of Darryl Stingley)
"He had a great smile. He was a character. He liked to make people laugh. He was a super sharp dresser and he was a lot of fun to be around like a lot of guys were on the team during that time."
Former Patriots Running Back Sam Cunningham:
(Reaction to news of Stingley's death)
"It's shocking. It's really hard to put in words how I feel."
"Having been around him and having spent some time with him, I know how hard he worked to survive every day. I have so much respect for him and for what he's done at this time in his life. He's a part of my family that isn't here any more."
"Without Darryl, without John [Hannah], I probably wouldn't have been able to do as well as I did as a Patriot or as a person."
(fondest memories of Stingley)
"I had a GMC 4-wheel drive truck and we used to go riding in the country out on the trails and hang out. Darryl being from Chicago, that wasn't really his thing, but we got stuck a couple of times and so I would ask for suggestions on how to get un-stuck and Darryl would look at me and say 'I don't know [anything] about riding in the country. I can't help you.' But we all learned and we all had good times just experiencing each others' lifestyles. We kind of grew up together. He just had such an appetite for knowledge and just experiencing [things.] Just like John [Hannah] said, he was a special individual."