Sports

Former NFL player Dennis Byrd killed in car accident

FILE - In this Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, file photo, former New York Jets player Dennis Byrd speaks during a halftime ceremony to retire his number during the second half of an NFL football game between the Jets and the Miami Dolphins, in East Rutherford, N.J. Byrd, the former NFL defensive lineman whose career was ended by neck injury, was killed Saturday, Oct. 15, 2016, in a car accident. He was 51. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol said Byrd, a former college player at Tulsa, was killed in a two-vehicle collision on Oklahoma 88, north of Claremore. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

Dennis Byrd, the former New York Jets lineman who defied predictions and walked again after suffering a broken neck in a 1992 NFL game, died in a road accident in Oklahoma, U.S. media reported. Byrd, 50, was involved in a two-vehicle collision on Saturday that "sent two others to the hospital in critical condition," the Tulsa World reported, saying he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Dennis exemplified true determination, tremendous heart and humility throughout his life.

Dr. Derrick Gragg, Tulsa's athletic director

The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Byrd was a second-round draft pick of the Jets in 1989 and quickly became a fan favorite for his intensity on the field as much as his humble, soft-spoken approach off it. He was considered one of the NFL's promising young defensive ends during his first three seasons, racking up 27 sacks — a mark that only two players in franchise history surpassed. After his official retirement in 1993, Byrd became a motivational speaker and later a television commentator before moving back to his native Oklahoma.

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The Oologah-Talala Emergency Medical Services said the crash happened between Oologah and Claremore.

2012

JERSEY RETIRED

Byrd's NFL career

The Jets retired Byrd's number 90 in 2012.

Dennis Byrd

Dennis DeWayne Byrd was an American football defensive end and defensive tackle for the New York Jets of the National Football League. He attended college at the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma.