Ron Brace Dead At 29: New England Patriots Issue Statement About Former Defensive Tackle

Ron Brace, a former defensive lineman for the New England Patriots, has reportedly died at the age of 29.

According to ESPN, the Springfield Police Department in Massachusetts confirmed Ron's death and confirmed that "an investigation is ongoing." However, Springfield Police Captain Robert Strzempek told the press that the cause of Ron Brace's death is not suspicious.

The New England Patriots posted a photo of Ron Brace as a memorial tribute to the former defensive tackle on Facebook Sunday along with a statement about the player.

"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."
Ron Brace
(Photo Credit: New England Patriots Facebook)

Ron Brace was selected by the New England Patriots with the 40th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. He signed a 4-year contract with the team which offered a guaranteed amount of roughly $2.82 million, according to the Boston Globe.

The contract terms were announced on social media by Ron's agent, Nate Haber. Haber reportedly told the Boston Globe via email that Ron Brace "was very excited to get his deal done with the Patriots" and that it was "a dream come true for him."

During the time that he spent as a star athlete for Boston College, Ron Brace was featured as a starting player for the team during his final 37 games.

He worked alongside B.J. Raji - a future first-round draft pick for the Green Bay Packers - to help his college team become one of the best interior defensive line-ups in the country.Ron Brace sustained a concussion during his 2010 season with the New England Patriots, which kept him on the sidelines for the team's Week 15 game against the Packers. He did play the following week, but missed the finale of the regular season due to an elbow injury. Prior to the playoffs, Ron Brace was placed on the injured reserve list in January 2011.

Brace was released from the New England Patriots on December 29, 2012. Several months later, he signed a deal to join the Washington Redskins, according to the team's official website. However, he was released from that team nearly 6 months later in late August.

Ron Brace's overall positive outlook and mentality shined in a post-game interview in August of 2012 with Steve Burton and Scott Zolak. Steve Burton asked Brace about "cut down day" - knowing that "a lot of guys are on the bubble" and frightened about not being able to make the final cut.

However, Ron Brace was fully aware that "cut down day" was part of the business. He stated that the team players tried to reiterate that point to each other before the game, knowing that "it was just best to go out there and give your all, put good film up and just try to do the best you can."

[Image via Jim Rogash/Getty Images]