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Jaylon Ferguson, an outside linebacker entering his fourth season with the Baltimore Ravens, died Tuesday after authorities found him unresponsive at a North Baltimore home, police said. He was 26 years old.

Baltimore police said in a statement that officers were called to the home just before 11:30 p.m. to investigate a “suspicious death.” When they arrived, Mr. Ferguson was unresponsive, said Detective Niki Fennoy, a department spokesperson. Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene, she said.

There were no signs of trauma or foul play, Detective Fennoy said, but investigators “are not ruling out the possibility of an overdose”.

Mr Ferguson’s body was taken to the medical examiner’s office, where an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, police said.

The Crows announced the death of Mr. Ferguson on social media early Wednesday morning, saying the team was “deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Jaylon Ferguson”. The team described Mr Ferguson as a ‘kind and respectful young man with a big smile and an infectious personality’.

“We express our sincere condolences to Jaylon’s family and friends as we mourn a life lost far too soon,” the team wrote.

The Ravens selected Mr. Ferguson in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft as the 85th overall pick. During his rookie season, he recorded 31 tackles and 2.5 sacks, and he contributed to a Ravens defense that ranked third in points allowed. In 2020, in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, he recorded a career-high six tackles.

Mr. Ferguson, a Louisiana native and graduate of Louisiana Tech University, broke the NCAA’s all-time record for career sacks with 45, earning the nickname “Sack Daddy” and beating a former Ravens player from longtime Terrell Suggs, who posted 44 career sacks at Arizona State University.

On Wednesday, his current and former NFL teammates and players paid tribute to Mr. Ferguson.

Ravens linebacker Josh Bynes said on Twitter that he and Mr. Ferguson were still having “real” conversations.

“Joked Together, Laughed Together, Prayed Together, Fought in the Field Together!!” he wrote. “Just an authentic spirit.”

nytimes sport

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