Fans of the NFL received some shocking news on June 22, 2022, when the Baltimore Ravens announced that Jaylon Ferguson had passed away the day before at the young age of 26. Ferguson is one of several football stars who have passed away well before their time. What led to his tragic death?
Who was Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson?
Ferguson played three seasons for the Ravens, who selected him in the third round of the NFL Draft out of Louisiana Tech. He started 10 games for Baltimore and saw playing time in an additional 28.
In that relatively short span, he was credited with four and a half sacks and 67 tackles.
Ferguson's teammates were understandably saddened by the news. Defensive lineman Calais Campbell told NFL.com, "Jaylon was a great young man to be around. He usually had a big smile on his face and would lighten up the room with a joke. He was just a great, fun guy. He will be missed."
Fellow linebacker Tyus Bowser added: "His positive energy, encouragement and his belief in me helped mold me into the player and man I am today. He will be missed but never forgotten."
"We lost a good one," tweeted the NFL Players Association. "Sending all the love and support to Jaylen's family and friends at this time."
You can also read the full official statement from the Ravens below.
What was Jaylon Ferguson's cause of death?
As of Wednesday, June 22, 2022, Jaylon Ferguson's cause of death had not been publicly announced by either the Baltimore Ravens or local authorities.
However, NFL.com quoted the Baltimore Police Department as saying that no signs of trauma were found nor was there any indication of foul play, so this is not a suspicious death. However, a BPD spokesperson did say that an overdose is considered a possibility.
Ferguson was found unresponsive at his Baltimore home late Tuesday evening at 11:25 p.m. ET. While he was treated by paramedics, he never regained consciousness and was eventually pronounced dead at the scene.
With the news still very recent, it will likely be days or weeks before a confirmed cause of death can be established.
ESPN stated that Ferguson had dropped "a significant amount of weight" as he prepared for his fourth NFL season, and described him as being "in the best shape of his career."
Jaylon left behind a fiancée and three children.
Jaylon's passing was mourned in a series of social media posts by his fiancée Doni Smith, with whom he shared three kids — Jrea, Jyce, and Demi, all under the age of 5.
"Never in a million years I thought I’ll be saying RIP to you," Doni wrote in an Instagram story on June 22. My soul aches sooo bad baby. I know I’m dreaming baby… please watch over us!"
In another, she vowed to continue his legacy, adding that "I got our babies, thank for you giving me you. I’ll forever have you with me through them!"
Doni's posts come just two days after sharing a sweet throwback of Jaylon and herself while she was pregnant in honor of Father's Day.
Our deepest condolences go out to Jaylon's family, loved ones, fans, and everyone affected by this loss.