January 25, 1998: Tyrone Davis #81 of the Green Bay Packers sits on the bench dejected during Super Bowl XXXII against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA.  The Denver Broncos beat the Green Bay Packers 31-24

Former NFL tight end Tyrone Davis, who played for the Jets and Packers, dies aged 50

Former New York Jets and Green Bay Packers tight end Tyrone Davis has died aged just 50, the latest in a string of former NFL players to die in their 50s these last months.

Davis died Oct. 2, 2022, according to Jeffress Funeral Home in the former NFL player’s hometown of South Boston, Va.

At 6-foot-4, 240 pounds, he was one of the best wide receivers in Virginia football before being drafted in 1995 as a fourth-round pick by the Jets, who turned him into a tight end.

The Jets traded Davis to the Packers early in the 1997 season, where he remained before being released in 2003 amid a series of injuries and weight issues.

Davis played in 75 NFL games and started 27, recording 73 catches for 795 yards and 13 touchdowns.

His cause of death was not reported, although a news bulletin devoted to coverage of Virginia sports and athletes said he died of an “undisclosed illness”.

January 25, 1998: Tyrone Davis #81 of the Green Bay Packers sits on the bench dejected during Super Bowl XXXII against the Denver Broncos at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, CA. The Denver Broncos beat the Green Bay Packers 31-24

Green Bay Packers teammate Tyrone Davis (R) Keith McKenzie (L) hugs teammate Tyrone Davis (R) December 20 after Davis recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the first half of their game against the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field in Green Bay

Green Bay Packers teammate Tyrone Davis (R) Keith McKenzie (L) hugs teammate Tyrone Davis (R) December 20 after Davis recovered a fumble for a touchdown in the first half of their game against the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field in Green Bay

Tyrone Davis of the Green Bay Packers is crushed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defenders on January 1.  4, 1998 in an NFC playoff game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis

Tyrone Davis of the Green Bay Packers is crushed by Tampa Bay Buccaneers defenders on January 1. 4, 1998 in an NFC playoff game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis

Former Packers teammate Earl Dotson posted a tribute to Davis on Facebook.

‘It’s hard to post. Rest in paradise teammates. This good man, Tyrone Davis, fought alongside me in the Green Bay NFL Packers for years. Brother forever,’ the tribute reads.

Davis’ death was preceded in July by the deaths of former NFL safety William White, 55, and Super Bowl winner Charles Johnson, 50.

In June, former Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa also died at the age of just 55.

Although White died of a degenerative neurological disease ALS – a disease for which there is no known cause, but studies have shown that it is four times more likely to affect former NFL players than the general population – the causes of death of Johnson and Siragusa were also not reported.

The exact cause of the early deaths of NFL players is unknown, but repeated cases of heavy impacts and head trauma are thought to be a major contributing factor.

Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease, is often cited as the cause of early deaths among NFL players and is caused and exacerbated by repeated blows to the head.

Charles Johnson, a former Pittsburgh Steelers catcher who eventually won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots, has died at age 50.  The cause of death has not been revealed.

Former Detroit Lions player William White (R) also died in July at the age of 55, suffering from ALS (White is pictured in Detroit, Michigan USA, Sunday October 31, 2021)

Charles Johnson (L), a former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver who eventually won a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots, died at age 50 in July. The cause of death has not been revealed. Former Detroit Lions player William White (R) also died in July aged 55, suffering from ALS

Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa holds the Vince Lombardi trophy as he rides with his wife, Kathy, during a parade in his hometown of Kenilworth, New Jersey, March 4, 2001 Siragusa died aged 55 in June

Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa holds the Vince Lombardi trophy as he rides with his wife, Kathy, during a parade in his hometown of Kenilworth, New Jersey, March 4, 2001 Siragusa died aged 55 in June

Over time, these impacts lead to confusion, depression, dementia and suicidal thoughts. CTE is also associated with a lack of impulse control characterized by heavy drug and alcohol use.

Former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, who died aged 27 while serving a life sentence for murder, has been diagnosed with the worst case of CTE ever seen in anyone one so young.

The disease was also discovered in Hall of Fame linebacker Junior Seau and Pro Bowl safety Dave Duerson, who both committed suicide with the expressed intention of donating their brains to science to be tested for CTE.

A 2017 Boston University study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association found that CTE was diagnosed in 110 of 111 former NFL players whose brains were donated for research. The disease was also diagnosed in 87% of 202 former high school football players through the NFL.

Meanwhile, a 2019 study of more than 6,000 former professional athletes in the United States found that NFL players had a significantly higher risk of dying young than their counterparts in other national leagues, such as the Major. League Baseball (MLB).

The study found that NFL players were about 2.5 times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease and nearly three times more likely than MLB players to die from neurodegenerative disease.

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