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Patriots, Bills mourn Saban's passing

The New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills have released statements on Sunday's passing of legendary AFL coach Lou Saban at 87.

Saban was the first head coach in Boston Patriots history.

"On behalf of the New England Patriots organization and my entire family, we are deeply saddened by the news of Lou Saban's passing and extend sincere sympathies to the entire Saban family," Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. "As the Patriots' first head coach, Lou helped kick off a new era of football in Boston. As a result, a part of his football legacy will forever be linked to many of the firsts in our franchise's history.

"This season, we will be celebrating the Patriots' 50th anniversary and reflecting back on that inaugural season. It should give us all cause to appreciate Lou's many contributions during the Patriots' formative years."

Saban's next job was with the Bills, who he led to AFL championships in 1964 and 1965. His record in four seasons was 36-17-3. He then coached the Denver Broncos for five seasons before finishing his career with four-plus years in Buffalo.

"Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson Jr. and the entire Bills organization is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Lou Saban. Coach Saban's knowledge of the game and unique personality were the perfect fit for the early years of the American Football League. Talented, enthusiastic and colorful, Coach Saban's style of coaching left an indelible mark on the AFL and professional football. As our organization prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American Football League and our franchise, we are sad today that Lou Saban will not be here to share it with us. But his spirit will be remembered long after the celebration is over.

"Mr. Wilson and the Bills organization pass along their deepest sympathies to Coach Saban's wife, Joyce, and their entire family during this difficult time."