Houston Antwine, a six-time American Football League All-Star at defensive tackle and a member of the New England Patriots’ 50th Anniversary Team, has died. He was 72.
Antwine died yesterday in Memphis, Tennessee, the Patriots said today in an e-mailed statement. His wife, Evelyn, passed away this morning, the team said.
The Patriots didn’t provide a cause of death for either person. Memphis Police Department spokeswoman Alyssa Macon-Moore didn’t immediately return a voicemail seeking comment.
“For those of us who grew up watching the Boston Patriots, this is a really sad day,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in the statement. “In the 1960s, the defensive tackle tandem of ‘Twine’ and Jim Lee Hunt were as good as any in the league and helped propel the Patriots to the franchise’s first division championship in 1963.”
A native of Louise, Mississippi, Antwine attended Southern Illinois University, where he played tackle on the football team and won a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics wrestling title. He is a member of the school’s athletic Hall of Fame, according to the Patriots’ release.
Antwine was selected by the Houston Oilers in the eighth round of the 1961 AFL Draft, and was traded before playing a game to the Boston Patriots. He spent 11 of his 12 professional seasons with the Patriots franchise in the AFL and National Football League, before playing his final season with the Philadelphia Eagles in 1972.
Antwine led the Patriots in sacks in the 1967, 1968 and 1969 seasons, and had 39 sacks in 142 games with the team. He was an AFL All-Star from 1963 to 1968 and a member of the franchise’s All-Decade Team for the 1960s.