“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Charles Rogers,” a statement released on Monday by the Detroit Lions said.
“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, the second overall pick in the 2003 NFL Draft, played three seasons with the Lions. He played in only 15 games in the NFL due to injuries, totaling 36 catches for 440 yards and four touchdowns, according to NFL.com.
Rogers’ cause of death was not immediately known. However, according to his former Saginaw High School football coaches, Rogers died from liver failure, MLive reported.
“I called his mom at the hospital over the weekend and got a chance to talk to Charles,” the news outlet reported former Saginaw High School football coach Don Durrett said. “He said he was going to the Lord.”
Rogers also battled cancer, the news website reported, citing Durrett and former Saginaw High School basketball coach and athletic director Marshall Thomas.
Former Detroit Lions wide receiver Charles Rogers has died at the age of 38. (Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
“He had cancer, whether that was related to his liver I don’t know,” Thomas reportedly said. “They had given him 30 days to live if he didn’t get a liver transplant.”
Rogers starred at Saginaw High School in football, basketball and track, according to MLive, which added that he led the Trojans to a football state championship. He also played for the Michigan State Spartans, claiming the Biletnikoff Award as the top receiver in college football.
Michigan State Football tweeted on Monday, “We are deeply saddened to learn the news of Charles Rogers passing away. We send our condolences to his family, friends and former teammates during this difficult time.”
While at Michigan State, Rogers set the Spartans’ record with 27 career touchdown catches while setting an NCAA record with 13 consecutive games with a touchdown catch.
Former NFL tight end Chris Baker tweeted on Monday morning, “Devastated to learn of the passing of my spartan [sic] brother Charles Rodgers. Spoke with his mom this morning. Please pray for her and his children.”
Plaxico Burress, a former NFL wide receiver who played college football at Michigan State, tweeted, “Heartbroken, sad, hurt this morning to wake up and hear my brother Charles Rogers has passed on. Praying for his family! Rest up my brother. We Love You! Rest in Paradise Chuck.”