Cedric Killings, a former Houston Texans player whose NFL career was cut short when he suffered a fractured vertebra on a kick return in 2007, has died after a battle with pancreatic cancer, Carson-Newman University announced on Thursday. last week. He was 45 years old.

Killings played in Carson-Newman before signing with the San Francisco 49ers in 2000 as an undrafted free agent. He also appeared in games for the Carolina Panthers and Washington.

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Cedric Killings, #71 of the San Francisco 49ers, tries to sack quarterback Aaron Brooks, #2 of the New Orleans Saints, during the game at 3Com Park in San Francisco. (Tom Hauck/All Sports)

«Cedric was a fantastic person, player, father, husband, teammate, and most importantly, a man of God,» Carson University head football coach Mike Clowney said in a statement from press. «We are praying and crying with Cedric’s family during this difficult time.»

Killings’ wife, Shavon, also posted about her husband on Facebook.

«My love, my best friend, my husband of 21 years is no longer physically with me but lives in my heart and in the hearts of our 3 children,» she wrote. «It comforts me to know that he is resting and is no longer in pain, but I’m still lost and I can’t believe this is real. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting him, then you already know how special he is.» he is. Just a great person. I don’t just say this as his wife, family, friends and former teammates repeat it. It has been an honor to share life with him, and to love and be loved by him. he. Very grateful for everything. I love you for life.»

Cedric Killings taken off the field

Defensive tackle Cedric Killings, #97 of the Houston Texans, is assisted off the field by medical personnel after suffering an injury in the third quarter against the Indianapolis Colts on September 23, 2007 at Reliant Stadium in Houston. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

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Killings suffered the devastating injury in Week 3 of the 2007 season against the Indianapolis Colts, when he was in a matchup collision during a kickoff. He would never play soccer again.

After retiring from soccer, he was an assistant coach at a high school in Miami, where he lived with his wife and three children.

Cedric murders in 2006

Houston Texans defensive tackle Cedric Killings during a 23-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, Calif., on Sunday, December 4, 2006. (Kirby Lee/NFLPhotoLibrary)

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Killings played in 34 games and had 41 tackles, including three sacks. He was inducted into the South Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in 2018, as he was honored for his defensive prowess at Carson-Newman.