The family of the late Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson put out a statement Thursday to quash rumors about his cause of death.
Doni Smith, Ferguson’s fiancée, posted the remarks on Twitter.
It came as TMZ Sports reported, citing Baltimore police, that “investigators are not ruling out the possibility of an overdose.”
“It is with deep sadness that we acknowledge the unexpected passing of our beloved Jaylon Ferguson. Jaylon was a loving father, son, brother, fiancé and an exceptional athlete. His kindness, big heart and infectious personality will be missed by so many, but his legacy will continue. We wholeheartedly appreciate the calls, text and post of support from his many friends and fans upon learning of his tragedy,” the statement began.
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“Despite the speculation in earlier reports, at this point in time the case of Jaylon’s death has yet to be determined. This is one of the darkest moments in our lives and we are still utterly shocked. We ask that you please respect our privacy as we navigate through this difficult time.
“Again, thank you to everyone for the love shown and a special thanks to the Baltimore Ravens and the Louisiana Tech University.”
Ferguson’s death was announced Wednesday. He was 26.
“We are profoundly saddened by the tragic passing of Jaylon Ferguson,” the team said. “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’s agent, Safarrah Lawson, also released a statement.
“It’s with great sadness that we announce the passing of Baltimore Ravens LB Jaylon Ferguson. The family asks for your prayers and privacy during this trying time,” Lawson said.
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“Jaylon was a good-hearted, gentle person who loved his family and his team,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said in a statement. “He was a joy to talk with and be around every day. You always wanted to see and talk to ‘Ferg.’ Our prayers and our help go to his family. Our hearts are with his Spirit. R.I.P., Jaylon.”
Ravens linebacker Tyrus Bowser added: “Me and ‘Ferg’ went through some of the same struggles when it came to making a name for ourselves in the league. From that, we were able to gain an understanding and help each other build and grow as players.
“From the playbook, to the field — and even outside of work — we created a strong bond amongst ourselves. Whether I was having a bad day or vice versa, we encouraged each other, and that’s what I appreciated most and what I’ll miss about him. 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. Rest Easy, 45.”
The Ravens selected Ferguson in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft out of Louisiana Tech. He played 14 games during his rookie season and had 31 tackles, 2.5 sacks and a fumble recovery.
In 2020, Ferguson played in 14 games and had 30 tackles, 2 sacks and a fumble recovery. In 2021, he only played in 10 games and had six sacks during that season.
Ferguson was a standout linebacker at Louisiana Tech. He was named the 2018 Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year and was a first-team all-conference selection in 2017 and 2018.
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He recorded the most sacks in NCAA FBS history with 45.