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Former NFL receiver and Ohio State All-American Terry Glenn died in a car crash in Irving, Texas on Monday morning, according to multiple reports. He was 43.
The Forth Worth Star-Telegram confirmed the news with the Irving Fire Department. TMZ reported that Glenn was ejected from his car and pronounced dead on arrival. His fiancee was reportedly in the car and transported to intensive care at a local hospital.
The Ft. Worth Star Telegram’s Clarence Hill posted a video on Twitter in which Glenn proposed to his fiancee.
The accident was a tragic end to an often tragic life that featured as many lows as highs. Glenn never knew his father and his mother was beaten to death when he was 12 by an acquaintance who had been stalking her.
“I used to have a family — you know, a real family, all together at Christmas, eating and drinking and watching TV,” Glenn once told Sports Illustrated. “But it all fell apart after my mother died. That guy didn’t just kill her, he killed my whole family.”
Glenn overcame the adversity of bouncing between homes in high school to have a standout career at Ohio State. He was then famously drafted by the New England Patriots with the seventh pick in the 1996 draft after owner Robert Kraft went against the wishes of then-coach Bill Parcells, who wanted to draft a defensive player instead. The conflict is often cited as one of the reasons that Kraft and Parcells split after that season.
Despite struggling early with a hamstring injury and having Parcells infamously refer to him as “she” during a news conference, Glenn caught 90 passes as a rookie, setting an NFL record for first-year players (it has since been broken by Anquan Boldin’s 101 in 2003). That Patriots team reached the Super Bowl before losing to the Packers.
“People say, ‘Can you believe it, you’re going to the Super Bowl?'” Glenn said at the time. “Hey, the whole thing is unbelievable to me. Sometimes I can’t believe I’m still alive.”
Glenn would play for the Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys over a 12-year career. Though he wasn’t big — he only stood 5-foot-10 and weighed 185 pounds — he caught 44 career touchdowns and gained 8,823 career receiving yards over 593 catches. He had four 1,000-yard seasons including back-to-back years with the Cowboys in 2005-06.
Former teammate Scott Zolak called Glenn the “most gifted receiver I’ve ever played with” on Monday.
Glenn caught Tom Brady’s first career touchdown pass in 2001, but played only four games for New England that year after starting the season with a four-game suspension for marijuana. He did not play in the Super Bowl nor did he receive a ring.
Glenn’s career was marked with plenty of problems. Not only did he struggle with injuries, he experienced plenty of off-field problems as well. In addition to the drug suspension in 2001, he was arrested for domestic assault earlier that year.
Glenn also ran into problems after his career, being arrested multiple times for driving under the influence in the Dallas area.
Glenn was a father of five and also ran the “83 Kids Foundation” which raises money for foster children. He recently reflected on being a father after his tragic childhood.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick had this to say about Glenn:
Many of Glenn’s former teammates and current NFL players took to Twitter to pay their respects.
His son Terry Glenn Jr. also publicly mourned on social media as well.
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