Patten played his college football at Western Carolina, breaking into pro football with the Albany Firebirds of Arena Football League after going undrafted in the 1996 NFL Draft. A year later, he caught on with the New York Giants, kicking off an impressive, lengthy NFL career.
He moved on to the Cleveland Browns for the 2000 season, before signing with the New England Patriots in 2001. There, he became one of the top targets for a young Tom Brady, catching his first ever postseason touchdown pass in Super Bowl XXXVI, an incredible falling catch in the back of the end zone that put the Pats up 14-3 early on the powerful St. Louis Rams.
Former Patriots star Richard Seymour was among the first to share the tragic news about his former teammate. The news has since been confirmed by The State. Official details about his death have not been disclosed at this time.
Patten spent four years with the Patriots, serving as a crucial member of the first three Super Bowl teams. He caught 165 passes for 2,513 yards and 16 touchdowns during that run, with 15 postseason catches for 174 yards and two touchdowns.
Patten left for Washington, where he spent two years, though his production tailed off from where it was in New England. He had a resurgent 2007 season with the New Orleans Saints, going for 54/792/3 on the year. His next year with New Orleans proved to be his final one in the NFL. He landed back with the Browns and Patriots over the next two offseasons, but failed to make the active roster.
In 2013, David Patten returned to his alma mater to finish his degree and serve as an assistant for the Catamounts. His son Daquan Patten is a current member of the Catamounts program.
Our thoughts go out to all impacted by his tragic passing.