Former Patriots quarterback Vito 'Babe' Parilli dies at 87

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Former Patriots quarterback Vito 'Babe' Parilli dies at 87

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.

BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is Rob Gronkowski good to go?

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BOSTON SPORTS TONIGHT PODCAST: Is Rob Gronkowski good to go?

00:43 - Rob Gronkowski says he's ready to go against the Texans. Michael Holley, Tom Giles and Kayce Smith talk about this risks of him playing while injured.

05:47 - Phil A.Perry follows up the Gronk discussion with a deeper breakdown of Gronk’s decision to play this Sunday.

10:02 - David Price appears to be easing back into baseball after pitching Friday night. Evan Drellich joins BST to talk about Price’s outing in Cincinnati. 

16:12 - The BST crew recaps the Red Sox win over Reds. Drellich returns to analyze how the pitchers performed and how that will impact the Red Sox postseason stretch.  

Danny Amendola embraces delayed follow-up to strong Week 1 performance

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Danny Amendola embraces delayed follow-up to strong Week 1 performance

This actually won’t be the first time that Danny Amendola had to wait to follow up a strong season-opener with the Pats. 

As the veteran receiver aims to return Sunday from a concussion and knee injury after leaving the Pats’ Week 1 loss early and missing Week 2 altogether, he’ll try to build a Week 1 performance that saw him lead the Pats with 100 yards on six receptions. 

The stop and start is somewhat reminiscent of Amendola’s first year with New England in 2013, when he had 10 receptions for 104 yards in the season-opener. He suffered a groin injury in that game, however, and didn’t play again until Week 5. At least the wait is shorter this time around. 

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“I mean, there’s going to be bumps and bruises along the way, but that’s football, right?” Amendola said Friday. “But I feel really good today, feel strong, so get ready tomorrow and just continue to prepare.”

In that first game back in 2013, Amendola again led the Pats in receiving yards, but it was in a terrible offensive showing for New England. All it took was four receptions for 55 yards to be the Patriots’ best receiver in a 13-6 loss to Cincinnati in which Tom Brady had a rare scoreless game. 

If Amendola can pick up where he left off in Week 1, the Pats will be in good shape. They’re also expected to have Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan ready to go, but Amendola was Tom Brady’s most reliable weapon in the Chiefs game, even though Brandin Cooks made a bigger impact with two pass interference penalties drawn in the red zone. 

Not known for his durability towards the end of his time in St. Louis, this will be the fourth of Amendola’s five regular seasons in New England in which he didn’t play in all 16 games. He played the full season in 2014, 14 games in 2015 and 12 games in 2013 and 2016. 

With Julian Edelman out, Brady could certainly use Amendola’s services as often as possible. That’s especially if he plays the way he did in Week 1. 

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