(CNN) – David Patten, a winner of three Super Bowls as a player for the New England Patriots between 2001 and 2004, died Thursday according to a team statement. Patten was 47 years old.
According to the newspaper The state, the Richland County Coroner confirmed that Patten was killed in a motorcycle accident. The South Carolina Highway Patrol says Patten’s motorcycle crossed the center line into oncoming traffic and collided with another vehicle on Clemson Rd outside Columbia, South Carolina.
The Richland County Coroner’s Office has not responded to CNN’s request for more information.
“I am heartbroken by the news of David’s passing,” said Patriots President and CEO Robert Kraft. “He was a devout Christian who followed his passion by following his football career and founded his own ministry. David went from being a low-key receiver to a powerful and passionate preacher. In New England, he will always be remembered as a three-time Super Bowl champion. “
Sam Gordon, Patten’s friend and representative, expressed his grief in a heartfelt post on social media.
“Very rarely do people call their favorite childhood heroes or players friends. He blessed me with it, ”Gordon wrote. “Thank you very much for your friendship, your inspiration and for trusting me to be your representative.”
Patten played for five different NFL teams in his 12-year career, finding his greatest success as a member of the Patriots. Patten has the distinction of catching the first Super Bowl touchdown pass of Tom Brady’s career in 2002. That was the only offensive touchdown scored for the Patriots in their 20-17 win over the St. Louis Rams. Patten won two more Super Bowls with the Patriots over the next 3 years.
In a Instagram post, Tom Brady wrote of Patten: “An accomplished professional. RIP my friend. My love is with David’s family. “
“It breaks my heart to hear about David’s tragic passing at such a young age,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. “I am grateful to have trained David. He is an essential person and player in the history of the Patriots, without whom we would not have been Super Bowl champions. I especially thank David for his career path. “
Patten was a prominent wide receiver at Western Carolina University, where he played from 1992 to 1995. He was not drafted in 1996 and spent a year playing American football. sand before getting his shot in the NFL with the New York Giants in 1997. Patten scored 24 touchdowns in his NFL career, 16 of which were with the Patriots.
“As much as anyone, David embodied the unpublished, self-made player who defied the enormous odds not only to win a job in the NFL, but to become a key player on several champion teams,” Belichick said. “I can speak for anyone who has had the pleasure of being around David by saying that his work ethic, positive energy and character were elite. My condolences to his family and loved ones. “
With information from Hannah Sarisohn