Former Carolina Panthers cornerback Rashard Anderson has died. He was 45 years old.
Anderson was a first-round pick in the 2000 NFL Draft after starring at Jackson State University.
“Today is a sad day for the JSU family,” JSU athletic director Ashley Robinson said in a statement to the Clarion Ledger.
“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. Rashard will always be remembered by Jackson State University, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time. ”
“Our condolences go out to his family and loved ones,” the Panthers said in a statement.
A cause of death has not been announced.
Anderson played two seasons for the Panthers, appearing in 27 games, nine of them starts. He was suspended for the entire 2002 season for violating the NFL’s drug policy and his suspension was subsequently extended for the 2003 season, and Carolina released him. He didn’t play again in the NFL.
He also signed briefly with the Calgary Stampede in the CFL.
“The Jackson State University community mourns the loss of student 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,” university president Thomas K. Hudson said in a statement. “He will forever be remembered for his charismatic personality and his winning attitude. Our condolences to the Anderson family and friends. ”