Former Jacksonville Jaguars and Dallas Cowboys lineman Uche Nwaneri has died.
Former Jacksonville Jaguars guard Uche Nwaneri died at the age of 38 on Friday at the West Lafayette, Indiana, home of his wife, according to media reports and Tippecanoe County Coroner Carrie Costello.
Jacksonville Jaguars 2010 Headshots
Police reports say the former offensive lineman collapsed after driving from Georgia to his wife’s house. He was found unresponsive in a bedroom in her house about 1 a.m. on Friday, Costello said.
Preliminary reports point to a heart attack, as police say there are no signs of foul play, according to the Lafayette Journal & Courier.
Uche Nwaneri’s career
Nwaneri was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fifth round in 2007. He played in 104 games, starting 92.
He went to Purdue University (which is located in West Lafayette), and his college career was marred by an incident in which he punched a teammate, breaking his jaw in July 2015. Nwaneri was subsequently suspended from the fall semester of 2005 but returned for the 2006 spring semester and played his final season as a Boilermaker.
The offensive lineman played for the Jaguars between 2007 and 2013 before being released in March 2014. He spent that year’s offseason with the Dallas Cowboys, but failed to make the 53-man roster and was released. He wore No. 77 during his NFL career.
His best season was in 2009 when he started every game and was credited with allowing only half a sack throughout the whole year. He also did not commit a single penalty over the season. He started 92 of 104 games in his career.
Did Nwaneri ever play in the NFL playoffs?
Nwaneri was present for the Jaguars’ 2007 playoff run but was inactive for both playoff games that season. After becoming a starter in 2008 until his release in 2014, Jacksonville never went to the playoffs again with him on the roster.
The lack of a franchise quarterback was the Jaguars’ biggest problem at the time. They chose Blaine Gabbert in the first round of the 2010 draft, but Gabbert was a bust. Nwaneri was a solid lineman, but Jacksonville only amassed losing seasons after he became a starter.
The Jaguars only returned to the playoffs in 2017.