FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Former New England Patriots offensive lineman and team dentist Bill Lenkaitis has died.
The team announced that Lenkaitis died Saturday. He was 70. His obituary says he died after an 18-month battle with brain cancer.
The San Diego Chargers drafted Lenkaitis out of Penn State in the second round of the 1968 AFL draft. After three seasons in San Diego, he played 11 seasons in New England.
He started 119 games, including all 16 in 1978 when the Patriots set a team NFL rushing record with 3,165 yards, a mark that still stands.
Team owner Robert Kraft says Lenkaitis was "a big man with an even bigger personality and a huge heart."
Lenkaitis earned his dental degree while still an active player.