Former NFL wide receiver Michael Jackson died in a motorcycle accident Friday in his hometown of Tangipahoa, Louisiana, according to police.
Jackson, who played for the and , was 48.
Jackson’s motorcycle was traveling “at a high rate of speed” around 1 a.m. Friday when it crashed into a car that was backing out of a parking space and into both lanes of the highway, police said.
Jackson struck the driver’s side door, and both Jackson and the driver were killed, according to police.
“Today, our hearts are saddened by the awful news involving Michael,” Ravens general manager Ozzie 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.”
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.
In eight NFL seasons, Jackson finished with 353 receptions for 5,393 yards receiving and 46 touchdowns. Injuries cut his career short and forced him to retire at the age of 29.
“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.”
After retiring from the NFL, Jackson served as the mayor of Tangipahoa from 2009 to 2013.
“Michael was also a community leader who inspired many people,” Newsome said.