Charles Rogers, a former wide receiver for the Detroit Lions and Michigan State University, has died. He was 38.
A Saginaw native, Rogers was a five-star high school recruit. After earning All-America honors at Michigan State, Rogers was drafted to the Lions in 2003. He played for them until 2005, when he was released from the team for testing positive for marijuana.
Rogers’ brief NFL career was plagued by injuries and a struggle with prescription painkillers. After his retirement from professional football, Rogers was charged with assault and battery in 2008 after an argument. In 2009, he was arrested by Novi police for driving under the influence. Rogers was also involved in litigation with the Lions during this time, as they had filed a grievance in 2005 requesting Rogers repay part of his signing bonus.
In a 2017 profile in the Lansing State Journal, Rogers was living in Fort Myers, Florida, and working at an auto repair shop. BET News reports Rogers had been diagnosed with liver disease and cancer before his death.
According to TMZ Sports, Rogers’ high school basketball coach Marshall Thomas said Rogers was recently told he would need a liver transplant within the month. Don Durrett, Rogers’ former high school football coach, told TMZ Sports he spoke to Rogers over the weekend. “I called his mom at the hospital over the weekend and got a chance to talk to Charles,” Durrett said. “He said he was going to the Lord.”
Since news of his death became public Monday morning, Rogers’ fans and teammates have taken to Twitter to memorialize his life and career.
DetroitLions.com writer Mike O’Hara remembered Rogers’ promising career and friendliness:
Sad to hear about the death of former Detroit Lion Charles Rogers, and a star at Michigan State. Charles had his issues, but I remember him as a nice, sociable young man with a world of talent. RIP.— Mike O'Hara (@MikeOHaraNFL) November 11, 2019
Some fans reflected on Rogers’ potential as a young player, while @AndrewDelPilar3 tweeted about Roger’s fall into obscurity following the end of his NFL career:
These kind of deaths always hit because of what could have been. So many what ifs and things that could have changed. A misunderstood man who never realized/hit his full potential. RIP THE BEST COLLEGE WR OF ALL TIME. CHARLES ROGERS.— Adrian🤠 (@moneymarin_) November 11, 2019
Unfortunately, it took Charles Rogers' death for everyone to know his name. 😔— Early Misunderstood Assassmas! 🎄😂 (@AndrewDelPilar3) November 11, 2019
Michigan State Football expressed their sympathy for those close to Rogers:
We are deeply saddened to learn the news of Charles Rogers passing away. We send our condolences to his family, friends and former teammates during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/M5LAsbzdMh— Michigan State Football (@MSU_Football) November 11, 2019
Former Michigan State teammate Chris Baker also remembered Rogers in a tweet:
Devastated to learn of the passing of my spartan brother Charles Rodgers. Spoke with his mom this morning. Please pray for her and his children. Please also be respectful of their privacy at this difficult time. Rip Chuck 💔— Chris Baker (@Toten86) November 11, 2019
“He’s from Saginaw, Michigan. He was the #2 pick. He’s a legend,” Golden State Warriors player Draymond Green in an said interview posted to Twitter. “He paved the way for a lot of us guys coming out of Saginaw after him to believe that we could make it.”
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