Jackson State University Thursday announced the death of former standout cornerback Rashard Anderson, 45, without indicating a cause of death.
“Today is a sad day for the JSU family,” said Jackson State Director of Athletics Ashley Robinson. “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 added. “Rashard will always be remembered by Jackson State University, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”
Anderson is an inductee in the Mississippi university’s Sports Hall of Fame, according to the college, adding, he was a standout cornerback for the Tigers from 1996-99. Anderson helped lead the Tigers to their 1996 Southwest Athletics Conference Championship.
After his outstanding college career at JSU, the cornerback was chosen by the Carolina Panthers as the 23rd overall pick in the 2000 draft, according to the NFL website. He was suspended in 2002 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, according to the league.
Anderson started in 9 of the 27 games he suited up for the Panthers, notching 75 tackles with three career fumble recoveries (one for a TD) and an interception.
After being reinstated and released by Carolina, Anderson was not signed by any other club, the NFL said.
“Our condolences go out to his family and loved ones,” the Panthers said in a statement.
Anderson and teammate wide receiver Sylvester Morris became the second set of JSU football players to be selected in first round NFL draft picks, JSU noted. They followed the legendary Walter “Sweetness” Payton and Robert Brazile, who were each picked in 1975’s first round.
“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,” said President Thomas K. Hudson in a statement.
“He will forever be remembered for his charismatic personality and his winning attitude,” the university president added. “Our condolences to the Anderson family and friends.”
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