He was just too young.
Though that can be argued with the loss of anybody we care about in this wacky world, the passing of Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson just seems too… unfair. At 26 years old, and reportedly in the best shape of his professional career during the team’s recent minicamps, the word that “Sack Daddy” had gone to his next chapter took us all by shock on what looked to be another typical Wednesday morning.
If the NFL truly has an offseason these days, these are the days. The coaches and players, while never fully stepping away from the grind that comes with their calling, do try to spend a lot of this time with their family. They try to enjoy vacations before training camp begins. They try to enjoy being themselves, while not under the constant glare of media and fans alike. They expect this to be “their time” — when they fine-tune their bodies, play with their kids and maybe catch a few extra minutes of sleep before everything goes crazy.
They don’t expect to take their last breaths. They don’t expect to never see their families again. They don’t expect to never have the opportunity to continue to chase their dreams and leave their marks on this world.
But Ferguson will have left his mark on the Ravens Flock. He was “one of us,” never leaving to go play somewhere else. Never taking a check from any team other than Baltimore. His career was all-too-short, encompassing three seasons of play, 4.5 sacks and 67 tackles. But his life was even shorter.
Jaylon Ferguson will never have that limping gait of an old man who once shined on the gridiron. He won’t have his grandkids sitting on his lap, listening to stories about Lamar Jackson, John Harbaugh and Tyus Bowser. He will no longer hear the roar of 71,000 purple-clad fans cheering his exploits, or the boos of a road crowd as Ferguson and his teammates walked off the field victorious once again.
May he always hold a place in the hearts and minds of Ravens fans everywhere. He wasn’t here long, but he was here in mind, body and spirit. He did what so many of us have dreamed of doing, but never could.
He walked out that tunnel to take the field in the purple and black. He was a Raven.
May he forever be remembered as one.