Former Patriot Ron Brace dies at 29

Former New England Patriots defensive lineman Ron Brace passed away this weekend at the age of 29, as confirmed by the team on Sunday.

Brace, was drafted by the Patriots in the second round of the 2009 Draft, and spent four seasons with the team from 2009 through 2012. The team issued a statement on his passing:

"We were deeply saddened to hear the news this morning of Ron Brace's death. Seven years ago tomorrow (4/25/09), we drafted Ron after his standout career at Boston College. During his Patriots career, the Springfield native was always eager to volunteer and give back in our communities, especially when those community initiatives were held in Western Mass. It is difficult to believe that someone so young and in the prime of his life is no longer with us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ron's family, friends and the many former teammates who will mourn Ron's passing."

Brace's tenure as a Patriot was marred by injury, as he missed the end of the 2010 season on injured reserve and the beginning of the 2011 campaign on the physically unable to perform list. His best statistical season came in 2010, when he played in 13 games (starting five), and recorded 15 tackles. He was also renowned for his positive attitude and jovial demeanor, as well as his willingness to give back to the community.

Brace had been released by the Pats near the end of the 2012 season, and signed with Washington the following offseason. The Redskins, however, cut him prior to the start of the 2013 season.

Brace was also a staple of the Boston College defense in the mid-2000s, and earned second-team All-ACC honors in his senior season with the Eagles. Additionally, he's a Springfield, Mass. native, and grew up in Worcester. Several Patriots expressed condolences for Brace on social media:
No cause of death was immediately announced, but an investigation is ongoing and it's not believed to be suspicious. Regardless, 29 is far too young.

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