Thursday, December 17, 2009
NFL Player Death Comes In Many Flavors
Chris Henry's death in Charlotte Thursday, caps an unprecedented year for domestic mayhem in sports. Think about it.
From Tiger's 2 a.m. car crash, to Steve McNair's murder by girlfriend, to Rick Pitino's public embarrassment over restaurant sex and paid-for abortions. It's been ugly.
The Henry death - death by falling out of a moving pickup truck - is certainly bizarre, and needless. Especially if you believe the story that he was turning his life around.
But when it comes to football deaths, well, we've seen some crazy shit over the years. Here's a few that come to mind.
Death By Weedwacking - Erik Andolsek
Eric Andolsek was preparing for his fifth training camp with the Detroit Lions when his life came to a sudden, violent end on a summer's day outside his home near Thibodaux, La. He was trimming weeds from around his mail box in front of his house west of Thibodaux on June 23, 1992, when a truck driven by James E. Bennett of Baton Rouge ran off the road and killed him. He was 25.
Death By Home Logging - Steve Courson
Courson, 50, was using a chain saw to cut down a dead 44-foot tall tree with a circumference of 5 feet when it fell on him, according to state police. The accident happened around 1 p.m. ET at his home in Henry Clay Township, Fayette County. Roger Victor, an investigator for the Fayette County coroner, said Courson was apparently trying get his dog out of the tree's way. "The wind was blowing, the tree snapped and it fell on him and his dog," Victor said. The dog was injured and taken to a vet.
Death By Fiery Head On Truck Crash - Justin Strzelczyk
Troopers said Strzelczyk, 36, attempted to elude police and, eventually, crashed his pickup truck into the westbound tanker just moments after swerving around a tractor-trailer that had pulled across the highway to block its path in the eastbound lanes.
Strzelczyk's truck was damaged beyond recognition, authorities said.
Death By Too Much Faith In Machete Defense - Sean Taylor
Ultimately it was these two sides -- the warm, giving son who wanted to bring his family together and the brooding, suspicious man who trusted few -- that led him to be sleeping, protected only by a machete, early the morning of Nov. 26 in the house in Palmetto Bay he bought for his mother, great-grandmother and half-brothers and sisters. It is what left Taylor exposed when four men, one of whom had connections to his half-sister Sasha Johnson, scaled the wall outside of the home where he had come to sleep for a single night. And where defending himself, his girlfriend and daughter, he was fatally shot.
Death By Ex-Wife With Shotgun - Fred Lane
Family, friends and former teammates of the former Carolina Panthers running back said Lane was broke and that Deidra Lane was concealing the location of their money.
"He was going to sell [al motorcycle so he would have some money," said Fred Lane's father, Fred Sr. "She wouldn't tell him where [the couple's money] was."
He said his son and daughter-in-law had been having difficulties recently and that his son left Charlotte and spent the past few weeks at the family home in Nashville, TN, after a pair of gun-related incidents that involved Deidra Lane.
In one, the father said, his son claimed his wife fired a shotgun through a wall while he was in another room. In the other, Fred Lane Sr. said, his son told him Deidra Lane pointed a handgun at him. After both incidents, he said, his son took the gun and gave it to a friend.
Death By Sleeping - Reggie White
White most likely had a condition that affected the amount of air his lungs could hold, resulting in "fatal cardiac arrhythmia," said Dr. Mike Sullivan, the medical examiner for Mecklenburg County and a forensic pathologist. The report issued by Sullivan's office also said sleep apnea may have been a factor.
Death By Gutter Cleaning - Max McGee
Jerry Kramer played 11 seasons on the Packers with McGee, and they remained friends. He said McGee's humor defused the tension on a team run by Lombardi's iron hand. "When everyone else was looking at their feet wondering what to do, Max would come up with something," he said. Kramer said McGee had a stubborn streak and it was not altogether surprising he went on the roof by himself. "It's hard to admit and distinguish the fact that you're no longer what you were and you're no longer capable of certain activities," Kramer said. "And I think we push the limit a little bit."
Death By Fire Hydrant, Light Pole, Tree - Darrell Russell
According to a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman, a unit responded to the accident on southbound La Cienega Boulevard near Sawyer Street in the Culver City area, which occurred at about 6 a.m. An MTA spokesperson said the Grand Prix appeared to have been involved in a high-speed race with another vehicle when the accident occurred. According to a police spokesman, the Grand Prix skidded nearly 50 feet, hit a curb, a tree, a newsstand, the fire hydrant, a light pole, another tree and the unoccupied transit bus. The accident sent a plume of water into the air from the sheared fire hydrant, flooding the scene. Paramedics worked for about 25 minutes using the Jaws of Life to free two men from the wreckage of a 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix. The driver, identified as Michael Paul Bastianelli, 29 -- a former De La Salle football player and teammate of Russell's at USC who spent time with the 49ers in training camp -- was in full cardiac arrest. A close friend of Russell's, Bastianelli later died at UCLA Medical Center.