Former Detroit Lions player Charles Rogers died of liver failure on Monday, Nov. 11. He was 38.
The standout Michigan State wide receiver, who was the second overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, played three seasons in the NFL before he was released by the Lions for multiple failed drug tests and a suspension for marijuana use.
Rogers struggled with sports injuries that contributed to his dependency on prescription pain killers. He blamed the team doctors for his addiction to Vicodin, an addictive pain killer.
“(The Lions) were giving them out like candy,” he told USA Today. “Whatever you want, man. Whatever you want. (They) weren’t even questioning as long as you are on the field. They were passing them out like Skittles. I was straight hooked on them things for 3 or 4 years.”
Rogers was working at an auto repair shop in Florida while trying to get his life together.
“A fresh start. Do I need a little love? Yeah,” Rogers said. “Am I still trying to find Charles Rogers? Yeah. I stay optimistic and positive. I’ve been to hell and back, but I stay strong. I still have faith. I’m still a young man. It ain’t over. I’m going to be all right, you know? I’m going to be all right.”
A former high school coach said Rogers had cancer. “He had cancer, whether that was related to his liver I don’t know,” Marshall Thomas told MLive.com. “They had given him 30 days to live if he didn’t get a liver transplant.”
Another coach, Don Durett, spoke with Rogers in the hospital before he died.
“I called his mom at the hospital over the weekend and got a chance to talk to Charles,” Durett told the Detroit Free Press. “He said he was going to the Lord.”