Former NFL wide receiver Michael Jackson died in a motorcycle accident on Friday (May 12) in his hometown of Tangipahoa, Louisiana. He was just 48 years old.
According to ESPN, Jackson’s motorcycle was traveling “at a high rate of speed” around 1 a.m. Friday, when he crashed into a car that was backing out of a parking space and onto the highway. He struck the driver’s side door, and both Jackson and the driver were killed, said police.
Jackson played for the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens during his NFL career, which spanned from 1991 to 1998.
“Today, our hearts are saddened by the awful news involving Michael,” Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said. “He was a vibrant person who became one of the first Ravens heroes and a popular player among Baltimore fans. Well known for his big smile and welcoming nature, it was easy to feel a special connection with Michael.”
Jackson became one of the Ravens’ first stars after the franchise relocated from Cleveland in 1996. In the Ravens’ inaugural season, he led the NFL with 14 touchdown catches. And in eight NFL seasons, Jackson recorded 353 receptions, 5,393 yards receiving and 46 touchdowns.
However, he was forced to retire at just 29 years old, due to injuries.
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who was head coach at Cleveland when the Browns drafted Jackson in 1991, expressed his condolences in a statement later Friday.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) May 12, 2017
According to ESPN, Jackson served as the mayor of Tangipahoa from 2009 to 2013 after retiring from the NFL.