Ron Brace, a 29-year-old former defensive lineman for the Patriots and Boston College, died of an apparent heart attack Saturday at his family’s Springfield home, a law enforcement source said Tuesday.
A Springfield native, Ronald J. Brace 3d was watching television when he apparently went into cardiac arrest, the source said. Brace’s father, Ronald J. Brace Jr., discovered him, but emergency medical workers and doctors were unable to revive him.
Springfield Police have provided few details about Brace’s death, other than to say it was not considered suspicious. A detective declined to comment Tuesday, saying more information may be available Wednesday.
The Brace family, which has deep roots in Springfield, was still coping with the death last year of Brace’s grandmother, Annette Brace, when Ron died.
Brace was a defensive linchpin for BC from 2005-08, when the Eagles went 39-14, twice reached the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, and won three bowl games. He was an All-ACC second-team selection as a senior before the Patriots selected him in the second round of the 2009 draft, 40th overall.
“The thing I remember most is his infectious smile,” said former BC coach Tom O’Brien, who recruited Brace. “Being such a big guy, you would expect something different, but he was a big old teddy bear. He will be sorely missed and we pray for his family.”
Brace was 6 feet 3 inches and 330 pounds when the Patriots drafted him. He played in 39 games over four seasons for New England, logging 39 tackles and forcing a fumble. The Patriots released him during the 2012 season and he never played again in the NFL.
Brace was remembered both at BC and by the Patriots as an active participant in community service with a soft spot for children.
Bob Hohler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.