For those of you who might not have yet heard the news, it’s with sadness that I announce the passing of one of our own.  John Stephens our former teammate for five seasons in New England, a friend to all and an overall great person.  Has passed away at the very young age of 43, from injuries sustained in an auto accident.  It’s being reported that while Stephens was driving his pick-up truck, he apparently lost control of his vehicle.  Which caused him to crash on a very rural stretch of Louisiana Highway 169, after he ran off the road. 

After running off the road his vehicle struck nearby trees head-on, causing him to be thrown from the vehicle.  It’s been reported that Stephens was traveling at a high rate of speed, lost control and tried to over correct his vehicle before the crash.  It also appears that the former NFL running back, WAS NOT wearing his seat belt at the time of the accident.  No other injuries were reported, nor were any other persons involved in the accident. 

For the fans who might not have been old enough to see Stephens play let me take a few moments and fill you in on some of his achievements.  After his brilliant college career at Northwestern State, where he finished as their all time leading rusher.  He was selected by the New England Patriots, with the 17th overall pick in the 1st round of the 1988 NFL Draft.  In his rookie season he won the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 1988.  He also earned himself a trip to the Pro-Bowl for the AFC after he rushed for 1,168 yards and 4 touchdowns. 

He remained with the Patriots for another 4 seasons before finally moving on.  Where he briefly played in two more seasons, with the Green Bay Packers, Atlanta Falcons and the Kansas City Chiefs.  Before he finally retired from the NFL in 1994.  During his career Stephens was the first ever recipient of the Gale Sayers Humanitarian Citation award for his work on behalf of the Roxbury (Mass.) Comprehensive Community

I offer my heartfelt condolences to all those who personally knew this man, for he was a proven leader on and off the field.  Not only is it a very sad day for the New England Patriots family, their organization, but for all of us.  It’s now time for you John, to go with GOD and enjoy the part of this journey that we call life.  GOD BLESS AND PEACE BE WITH YOU MR. JOHN STEPHENS!