Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson has died at the age of 26, the team confirmed on Wednesday. The Ravens did not give cause of death.
“We are profoundly saddened by the tragic passing of Jaylon Ferguson,” the team said in a statement. “He was a kind, respectful young man with a big smile and infectious personality. We express our heartfelt condolences to Jaylon’s family and friends as we mourn a life lost much too soon.”
Ferguson was a college star at Louisiana Tech and holds the FBS record for career sacks with 45, and his achievements earned him the nickname “Sack Daddy”. He was drafted by the Ravens in the third round of the 2019 draft and had 4.5 sacks and two fumble recoveries during his time in Baltimore.
“He was a wonderful young man full of love and life,” Ferguson’s agent, Safarrah Lawson, said in a statement. “He will be remembered not just as a football player, but as a great father, son, brother and friend. The family asks for your continued prayers.”
Ferguson was a popular figure with his teammates and cut a distinctive figure in the Ravens locker room with his thick-rimmed glasses and laidback personality. He was the first person from his family to graduate from college, and was a proud father to his three children.
“When I’m off the field, I’m just really, really calm, because I don’t see no reason to be laughed up all the time,” Ferguson told Penn Live in 2019. “On the field, I got people I can’t let down. That’s how I work. That’s how I eat. And I’ve got my kids now, so I’m not going to let nothing stop me from eating.”
The NFL has been hit by a number of deaths in recent months. Arizona Cardinals cornerback Jeff Gladney was killed in a car crash in June and former Dallas Cowboys Marion Barber III died at the age of 38 two days later. In April, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins was struck and killed by a truck after his car ran out of gas and he exited the vehicle on a freeway.