Former Jackson State and Panthers cornerback Rashard Anderson dies at 45

Former Jackson State and NFL Carolina Panthers cornerback and 2000 1st round draft pick Rashard Anderson has died at age 45, according to a Jackson State spokesperson, the Clarion-Ledger reported.

“Today is a sad day for the JSU family,” Jackson State Athletic Director Ashley Robinson said, according to The Sports Grail. “Rashard was a fantastic person as well as one of our football program’s greatest players. In April, he came to our spring football game and was enthusiastic about the programme winning again. Jackson State University will never forget Rashard, and at this difficult time, our hearts and prayers go out to his family.”

Play-by-play announcer for the school Rob Jay also tweeted about Anderson’s death, saying, “Devastated over this . . . Rest in heaven my friend.”

A brief career

Anderson was one of two Jackson State players drafted to the NFL in the first round in 2000: he was the 23rd overall pick to the Panthers and Sylvester Morris was the 21st pick and went to the Kansas City Chiefs. No players from JSU have been first-round picks since.

He played in 27 NFL games over two seasons before being suspended for violating the league’s substance abuse policy in 2002.

He was suspended through 2003, but the Panthers cut him upon his return.

He signed with the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian football league in 2005, but never ended up playing on the team.

Gone too soon

He had 75 career tackles, one interception, and one touchdown, according to Sports Illustrated.

According to reports, Anderson worked as a substitute teacher and assistant football coach at several schools in the Jackson area after his retirement from football.

No cause of death was announced, but there were reports that Anderson had cancer.

One local head football coach tweeted that Anderson was a “father, son, nephew, and uncle” as well as a “brother, friend and teammate.” He ended the post #CancerSucks.

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