FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - Babe Parilli, the former Patriots quarterback who starred in the team's American Football League days, died Saturday. He was 87.
New England announced the death. The cause of death wasn't disclosed.
Parilli played for the then-Boston Patriots from 1961 to 1967. He was voted to three AFL All-Star games and was the AFL's Comeback Player of the Year in 1966.
Parilli was named to the All-AFL 10 Year Anniversary Team in 1971 and his 31 touchdown passes in 1964 were a team record until 2007. Parilli is fourth on the Patriots' career passing list with 16,747 yards and is in the team's Hall of Fame. He also was known as an excellent holder and was nicknamed "gold finger."
He began his pro career with the Green Bay Packers in 1952, and also played for the Cleveland Browns, Oakland Raiders, New York Jets and the CFL's Ottawa Rough Riders. He was the backup to Joe Namath when the Jets won the Super Bowl in 1969.
Vito "Babe" Parilli was born in Rochester, Pennsylvania - not far from Namath's hometown of Beaver Falls. Both Parilli and Namath played under coach Bear Bryant in college, Parilli at Kentucky, and Namath at Alabama. Parilli led Kentucky to victories over Oklahoma in the 1951 Sugar Bowl and TCU in the 1952 Cotton Bowl. In 1982, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.
Parilli was a head coach in the World Football League, also served as an NFL assistant and coached in the Arena Football League.
In an audio recording obtained by the New York Times of the contentious October meeting between NFL owners and players over protests during the national anthem, Patriots owner - and friend of President Trump - Robert Kraft blasted Trump.
“The problem we have is, we have a president who will use that as fodder to do his mission that I don’t feel is in the best interests of America,” the Times quotes Kraft as saying. “It’s divisive and it’s horrible.”
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie cautioned the players not to be baited by Trump, who earlier in the fall had called NFL players sons of bitches for kneeling during the anthem before games. Lurie called the Trump presidency "disastrous."
"We've got to be careful not to be baited by Trump or whoever else," Lurie said.
Many of the players told the owners that ex-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who initiated the kneeling protest, was being blackballed by the owners.
"We all agree in this room that he should be on a roster," said former Patriots linebacker Chris Long, who recently retired after winning a Super Bowl with the Eagles.
The Patriots-picking-Lamar-Jackson rumors Thursday night in the first-round of the draft are bound to heat up in the next 24 hours after a report by Jenny Vrentas of Sports Illustrated's MMQB that the Louisville quarterback had a second workout for the Pats - this one a private session in South Florida for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.
Jackson, the Heisman Trophy winner in 2016, previously made a visit to Foxboro, where he even got a laugh out of Bill Belichick.
The Patriots, with picks No. 23 and 31 in the first round, would likely have to trade up to get Jackson, whose mobility is one of his key assets. Our Phil Perry has him going 15th to the Arizona Cardinals in his latest mock draft.
Speaking at the site of the draft in Dallas on Wednesday, Jackson, via NFL.com's Jeremy Bergman, sounded excited at the prospect of New England trading up to get him and he's sticking by his mother as his manager.
Jackson already has kind of an endorsement from Brady via Instagram earlier this month. And click here for our Mike Giardi on Jackson from our "Next Heir Up" series on possible Pats future QBs.