Football fans are in mourning after the news that former NFL wide receiver David Patten passed away on Thursday at just 47 years old after a fatal motorcycle crash in South Carolina.

NFL.com confirmed that Patten was traveling on a Kawasaki motorcycle near Columbia, South Carolina when the crash occurred. The South Carolina Highway Patrol told the NFL that Patten was traveling west and traveled left of the center line, striking an oncoming Chevrolet sedan. The crash is still being investigated.

Patten, a three-time Super Bowl champion, was a force to be reckoned with when he was a pivotal part of the New England Patriots from 2001 to 2004.

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“I am grateful to have coached David,” coach Bill Belichick said. “He is an essential person and player in Patriots history, without whom we would not have been Super Bowl champions.”

It’s an unfortunate and untimely death, but Patten leaves behind a legacy attached to his name.

“Across 12 NFL Seasons, Patten tallied 324 catches for 4,715 yards and 24 touchdowns,” reported the NFL. “His 61 receptions and 824 yards receiving in 2002 with New England were career highs, as were his seven touchdown grabs in 2004 with the Pats.”

While his football skills were highly talked about, Patten was more than just a football player. He was a husband, a father, and a devout Christian who was admired by his fellow teammates and previous coaches.

“David transitioned from an undersized and understated wide receiver to a powerful and passionate preacher,” said Patriots owner Robert Kraft. "In New England, he will always be remembered as a three-time Super Bowl champion.”

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