I sat down this morning to write and just as I did the news broke about the tragic passing of Jaylon Ferguson. Devastating news like this stops you dead in your tracks. Suddenly, the day takes a disastrous twist and we’re left wondering how and why.
Although I didn’t know Jaylon personally, he always struck me as an affable, happy-go-lucky guy who seemed at home on the football field, putting in the work to refine his craft as a professional. Ferguson was about to embark upon his fourth season in the bigs – an important campaign that would define the next chapter in his career.
When the Ravens made Jaylon their third-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the 85th overall, there was hope that his record-setting 45 sacks as a Louisiana Tech Bulldog would project well into the NFL and that his moniker, “Sack Daddy”, would follow him into Baltimore. That never materialized but that didn’t derail Ferguson’s ambition. He worked hard this offseason and reported to camp in the best shape of his career, hoping to finally make that long awaited statement while donning the purple and black.
It wasn’t meant to be.
As fans and observers of the team, we too often view players as pawns in the grand scheme of winning, forgetting, at least momentarily, that these are human beings who just happen to have a unique career path which is placed upon a pedestal, upon a national stage for us all to observe and critique. It comes with the territory. The players know what they’ve signed up for.
The criticisms aren’t meant to be personal, although some can shape things that way and take them too far. That too, albeit unfair, comes with the territory in the world of modern media.
But more importantly, someone lost a son, a brother, a friend – and two children lost their 26-year-old father. And now, nothing else regarding the Ravens seems all that significant. Certainly not for the moment.
Today, the how’s and why’s don’t matter. What does matter is that we take time to reflect upon just how precious yet fragile life is; to respect the loss and to express sorrow for those hurt most but this gut-wrenching tragedy – a calamity that should force us all to take pause with honor, class and dignity.
Let’s remember Jaylon Ferguson for the cheerful guy he was.
The details that took him from us can be a lesson for another day.
Can’t stop thinking about Jaylon Ferguson’s family. My heart hurts pic.twitter.com/7f6fStg5Vr
— Sarah Ellison (@sgellison) June 22, 2022
The last person I talked to leaving the facility. Spent almost everyday in the sauna together tryna see who gone last longer. Said it was our turn this year man. Ima miss you bro💔
— 🦈 (@Patrickqueen_) June 22, 2022