Former University Of Tulsa & Jets Player Killed In Car Crash
(CBS) — Dennis Byrd who played college football at the University of Tulsa (1984-88) and was a New York Jets defensive lineman — who broke his neck during a football game in 1992 — died Saturday (Oct. 15) in a car crash.
The accident happened shortly after 11 a.m. on State Highway 88 at Lowry Road, north of Claremore in Oklahoma, according to a Highway Patrol report.
Byrd, 50, was killed, and two others were sent to the hospital in critical condition.
Per the police report, a 17-year-old driver from Claremore veered his Ford Explorer into the oncoming lane, and collided with Byrd’s vehicle.
Byrd was pronounced dead at the scene, while two others were taken to a local hospital in critical condition.
Byrd rose to fame when, in 1992 after suffering a serious neck injury and being told he would likely never walk again, he recovered the ability to walk within weeks.
Byrd suffered the injury while attempting to sack the quarterback, who avoided his hit.
Byrd collided with his teammate and suffered a broken C-5 vertebra, which left him temporarily unable to walk.
He recovered within a few weeks and was an honorary captain at the team’s season opener in 1993.
The Jets awarded him with their Most Inspirational Player award, and named the award after him.
No Jets played has worn his No. 90 jersey since 1992, and it was officially retired in 2012.
Byrd’s post-NFL career included an autobiography and a TV movie about his life, as well as high school coaching jobs in and around the Tulsa area.
Byrd is survived by his wife, Angela, and their four children.