Dennis Byrd, a former NFL defensive lineman who recovered to walk again after breaking his neck in a game, died in an Oklahoma car accident today according to the Tulsa World.
Byrd, 50, was driving in Oklahoma Saturday morning when his car was struck by another vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
After starting at Tulsa for four years, Byrd was a second-round draft pick for the New York Jets in 1989. His career ended in 1992 when he suffered a severe neck injury in a game and was told he would never walk again. With significant physical therapy, he recovered to walk on the field for the Jets’ 1993 home opener, where he was presented with a team Most Inspirational Player Award that has since been named for him.
His number 90 was retired by the Jets in 2012.