An early morning accident has claimed the lives of two people, including former NFL player Michael Jackson.
Louisiana State Police Senior Trooper Dustin Dwight said it happened about 1 a.m. Friday on U.S. 51, south of the Village of Tangipahoa. After his retirement from football, Jackson held served as the mayor the village from 2009-2012.
Dwight said the 48-year-old Jackson, of Tangipahoa, was riding a motorcycle north on U.S. 51 at a high rate of speed, when 20-year-old Destiny Gordon, of Kentwood, Louisiana, backed her car from a parking space across both lanes of the highway into the motorcycle’s path. Because of the motorcycle’s speed, it penetrated the driver’s side door, killing both Jackson and Gordon, investigators said.
Jackson, whose full name is Michael Dywane Jackson Dyson, played eight NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens from 1991-98.
He played in college at Southern Mississippi, catching passes from future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre.
Jackson was drafted by the Browns in the sixth round of the 1991 draft. His best season was in 1996 with the Ravens, when he caught 76 passes for 1,201 yards. He finished his career with 353 catches for 5,393 yards and 46 touchdowns.
In a statement, Ravens General Manager and Executive Vice President Ozzie Newsome said he was saddened by the news of Jackson’s death.
“Today, our hearts are saddened by the awful news involving Michael,” Newsome said. “He was a vibrant person who became one of the first Ravens heroes and a popular player among Baltimore fans. Well known for his big smile and welcoming nature, it was easy to feel a special connection with Michael. As we remember Michael fondly, we extend our condolences to everyone who knew him and those families affected by this tragedy.”
Jackson was one of the first stars for the Ravens after the franchise relocated from Cleveland in 1996. In the Ravens’ inaugural season, he led the NFL with 14 touchdown catches.
“One of my most rewarding achievements after retiring as a player was watching Michael Jackson develop as a wide receiver,” Newsome said. “When I joined the Cleveland Browns’ scouting department, my first opportunity to work out receivers involved Michael in that group. I evaluated probably a half-dozen guys, but Michael was the one who stood out to me because of his speed and range. He then became a sixth-round pick of the Browns, and I watched him evolve into an impactful receiver throughout his career in Cleveland and Baltimore.”
New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who was head coach at Cleveland when the Browns drafted Jackson in 1991, expressed his condolences in a statement later Friday.
— New England Patriots (@Patriots) May 12, 2017