Following his incredible college career at Jackson State University, Rashard Anderson was selected in 2000 as a first-round pick in the NFL draft by the Carolina Panthers. On Thursday, his former team confirmed his death.
“Our condolences go out to his family and loved ones,” the Panthers wrote in a statement that addressed the cornerback’s passing, according to ESPN.
Although Anderson’s NFL career was short-lived, it was impactful nonetheless. Only appearing in 27 games throughout the two seasons he spent with Carolina, he started in nine games and accumulated 75 tackles, three fumble recoveries, and an interception. However, he was banned for the entire 2003 season following a substance abuse scandal. After the NFL allowed him to return to the field, the Panthers released him from their roster.
Yet, Anderson still holds a significant role in Jackson State’s athletic department. In the two decades since his initial NFL draft, the ex-football player continues to be the only player selected as a first-round pick. Due to his impact on the football team, the school has been outspoken about its grief.
Jackson State University staff members on the tragic loss of Rashard Anderson
Today is a sad day for the JSU family,” Jackson State Vice President and Director of Athletics Ashley Robinson. shared in a statement released by the Florida-based university. “Rashard was one of the best players in the history of our football program and an outstanding person. He attended our spring football game in April and was excited about the program returning to championship status.”
Robinson concluded with the sentiments, “Rashard will always be remembered by Jackson State University, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”
However, the Director of Athletics was not the only staff member to express sympathy toward the Anderson family. President Thomas K. Hudson, J.D. also honored the life of Rashard Anderson, highlighting the talent he showcased while attending Jackson State.
“The Jackson State University community mourns the loss of alumnus Rashard Anderson, one of our talented former student-athletes who made an indelible mark on the gridiron and throughout his professional career in the NFL,” he said. “He will forever be remembered for his charismatic personality and his winning attitude. Our condolences to the Anderson family and friends.”
The football player’s cause of death is yet to be released.
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