JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former Jacksonville Jaguars player Uche Nwaneri died suddenly in his Indiana home on Friday, according to media reports.
Preliminary results indicate a possible heart attack, according to the Tippecanoe County Coroner.
Nwaneri was 38.
According to the Lafayette Journal & Courier, Nwaneri drove up from Georgia and was at his wife’s West Lafayette home when he apparently collapsed.
Nwaneri’s wife found him unresponsive in a bedroom in her house around 1 a.m. Friday and called 911. An autopsy performed Monday found no signs of foul play, the Lafayette Journal & Courier reported.
Nwaneri, who attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, was drafted in the 5th round by the Jaguars in 2007 and played seven seasons (104 games) with the team as an offensive lineman, wearing No. 77.
Nwaneri was part of an offensive line that cleared the way for Maurice Jones-Drew in 2011 when he led the NFL in rushing. Nwaneri, whose full name is Uchechukwu Eberechukwu Nwaneri, was also a rookie on the team when the Jaguars went to the playoffs in 2007.
After news of his death spread, the Jaguars, fans and Jacksonville media members shared their condolences on social media.
“On behalf of the Jaguars organization and my family, our thoughts are with Uche’s family + friends at this terrible time,” Jaguars Chief Football Strategy Officer Tony Khan tweeted.
Rest In Peace, Uche Nwaneri. @Chukwu77 played 7 seasons with the @Jaguars, 2007-2013, and forged a strong bond with the Jags fans that's remained to this day.— Tony Khan (@TonyKhan) January 2, 2023
On behalf of the Jaguars organization and my family, our thoughts are with Uche's family + friends at this terrible time.
#Jaguars fans will be sad to hear passing of former G Uche Nwaneri at 38, collapsing from a possible heart attack in wife's home in West Lafayette. Uch was one of the coolest cats to ever occupy that locker room. Opinionated and so loveable. What a tragedy to be taken so young.— Eugene Frenette (@GeneFrenette) January 2, 2023
If anyone has an Uche Nwaneri jersey and wants to bring it Saturday, we’ll hang that bad boy up at the tailgate.— Cap Dealer (@BoldCityCap) January 2, 2023
He was one of us. Only seems right to have a little tribute.
Just heard about the passing of former Jaguar OL Uche Nwaneri and I’m almost at a loss for words. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I had him on my show to talk Jaguars, He was always kind and gracious with his time… So sad for his family…🙏🙏🙏— Hacker (@RyanGreen1010XL) January 2, 2023