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Former Spartan, NFL Receiver Dead at 38

Charles Rogers played for the Detroit Lions
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 11, 2019 5:00 PM CST
In this Nov. 2, 2005, file photo, Detroit Lions wide receiver Charles Rogers listens to a reporter's question after working out in Allen Park, Mich.   (AP Photo/Duane Burleson, File)

(Newser) – Former Michigan State star and Detroit Lions receiver Charles Rogers has died at the age of 38. A woman who identified herself as Cathy Rogers, his mother, confirmed the death Monday in a phone call from the AP. Other details were not immediately known. Marshall Thomas, Rogers' former basketball coach at Saginaw High School in Michigan, told MLive.com that Rogers died Monday of liver failure and also had cancer. At Michigan State, Rogers was an All-American wide receiver who had 135 receptions for 2,821 yards in two seasons. He was college football's top receiver in 2002 and the second overall pick in the 2003 NFL draft. He scored twice in his NFL debut, but suffered a broken collarbone that ended his rookie season and suffered the same injury a year later. Rogers failed a drug test in 2005 and was cut entering the next season. He had 36 career receptions for 440 yards receiving and four touchdowns in 15 NFL games.

Rogers was arrested in 2008 in suburban Detroit and charged with assault and battery involving his fiancée. He pleaded no contest to trespassing and entered in a treatment house as part of his probation. "We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Charles Rogers," the Lions said in a statement. "From Saginaw to East Lansing to Detroit, Charles' connection to the state of Michigan and its football community was felt by many during the course of his life. We extend our heartfelt sympathies and condolences to his friends and family during this difficult time." Rogers is Michigan State's all-time leader in touchdown catches with 27 and ranks third in school history in receiving yards and eighth in catches, all in just two seasons. He had a school-record 12 career 100-yard receiving games and is the only Spartans receiver with multiple 200-yard receiving games. Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio called Rogers "an incredible talent."

(Read more NFL stories.)

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