By Bill Shields, WBZ-TVBy Bill Shields

PEABODY (CBS) – Jim Rice, the Peabody firefighter who died two days before Christmas, was a huge Patriots fan. He had season tickets for 18 years.

The fallen firefighter will be well-represented at Saturday night’s game against the Broncos. The team owner, Robert Kraft, has invited the family to be his guest.

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“We’re all excited, and the kids will have a great time,” says Rice’s widow Amy. “The kids will be honorary captains, so they’ll be on the field for the coin toss.”

WBZ-TV’s Bill Shields reports

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Amy Rice has three kids, ages seven to twelve. This will be their first trip to Gillette Stadium.

“I’m sure there will be a lot of emotion because that was the place Jim loved so much,” she says. “I wish it were him going instead, so it will be a little bittersweet.”

She went on to say, “We’ll go and create some new memories with the kids. I wish he could do it, but we’ll do it in his place.”

The Rice family will not only be on the field for the coin toss, but will be provided with front-row seats.

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And in Jim’s seat in section 237, his friends will place his fire helmet on the chair, in his memory.