NFL linebacker found to have died from effects of cocaine and fentanyl

The death of the Baltimore Ravens linebacker was ruled an accident

<p>Jaylon Ferguson </p>

Jaylon Ferguson

A medical examination has found that Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson died from the combined effects of cocaine and fentanyl, a spokesperson from the Maryland Department of Health said on Friday.

Mr Ferguson, a native of Louisiana, was found unresponsive in his North Baltimore home on June 21 and pronounced dead. His death was ruled an accident following an autopsy.

Mr Ferguson is one of the most high-profile people in recent months to suffer from the potential deadly effects of fentanyl. The number of overdose deaths in the US due to synthetic opioids other than methadone has spiked in recent years, with more than 56,000 such overdose deaths reported in 2020 alone. Last fall, actor Michael K Williams died after taking a dose of fentanyl-laced heroin in New York.

Born in the town of Zachary in East Baton Rouge Parish, Mr Ferguson stayed close to home to attend college and play football at Louisiana Tech. He enjoyed an outstanding career as a member of the Bulldogs, making 50 appearances over four years and breaking the FBS sack record during his final college game.

Mr Ferguson then spent the entirety of his short professional career in Baltimore, after the Ravens selected him in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He made his NFL debut in September of that year and was starting by the end of the campaign. He appeared in 24 games over the last two years, mainly as an outside linebacker and defensive end.

Mr Ferguson was engaged to be married at the time of his death and had three children with his fiancée Doni Smith.

“Jaylon definitely had the biggest heart that I’ve ever imagined. I thought that I had a big heart, but his heart was way bigger,” Ms Smith told the Baltimore Sun. “He just was a guy that wanted joy. He wanted peace. He wanted everybody to be happy. He would meet people, and they would instantly become family.”

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